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At a Glance
NCAA Champion--UCLA (29-1; coached by John Wooden/20th of 27 seasons with Bruins; won AAWU title by three games with a 14-0 record).
NIT Champion--Dayton (21-9; coached by Don Donoher/fifth of 26 seasons with Flyers).
New Rules--The dunk shot is deemed illegal during the game and pregame warmup. . . . NIT field expands from 14 teams to 16.
NCAA Probation--Illinois, Mississippi State, South Carolina.
NCAA Consensus First-Team All-Americans--Lew Alcindor, C, Jr., UCLA (26.2 ppg, 16.5 rpg, 61.3 FG%); Elvin Hayes, F-C, Sr., Houston (36.8 ppg, 18.9 rpg, 54.9 FG%); Pete Maravich, G, Soph., Louisiana State (43.8 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 4 apg, 81.1 FT%); Larry Miller, F, Sr., North Carolina (22.4 ppg, 8.1 rpg); Wes Unseld, C, Sr., Louisville (23 ppg, 18.3 rpg, 61.3 FG%).
National Player of the Year--Hayes (AP/UPI/USBWA).
National Coach of the Year--Guy Lewis, Houston (31-2/AP, UPI, NABC, USBWA).
Houston ended UCLA's 47-game winning streak, 71-69, in the Astrodome in what has been called the "Game of the Century." Houston's Elvin Hayes (39 points and 15 rebounds) outdueled injured UCLA center Lew Alcindor (15 points and 12 rebounds while hampered by a scratched left cornea). The contest was the first in a domed stadium, the first occasion that a regular-season game was nationally televised by a network and the first time in NCAA history that a crowd larger than 50,000 people witnessed a game (52,693). Hayes, who hit just 59 percent of his career free throws, sank two foul shots with 28 seconds remaining to snap a 69-69 deadlock. His scoring output was the most by an individual against the Bruins during the season (see accompanying box).
Actually, UCLA almost lost its season opener on the road when Purdue christened its new arena. But the Bruins "Sweeked" past the Boilermakers, 73-71, on backup guard Bill Sweek's 24-footer in the closing seconds after future All-American guard Rick Mount missed the front end of a one-and-one free-throw opportunity.
Sophomore Pete Maravich scored an amazing 49.3 percent of LSU's points in compiling a 43.8-point season average. When Maravich was a prep player, his father, Press, coached at North Carolina State. At the time, the ACC required incoming freshmen to score 800 on their SAT. When Pete apparently had difficulty reaching 800, his father decided that coaching his son was more important than remaining in the ACC. So father and son went to LSU in the SEC. During the 1960s it was widely assumed that the 800 score was the ACC's way of perpetuating segregation. But it wound up costing the league one of the most famous white players in history. . . . Junior forward Ralph Jukkola, collecting 22 points in a 74-71 defeat at Tennessee, became the only LSU teammate to outscore Maravich (17) in a regular-season game. It was the only game all season that Pistol failed to hoist up more than 20 field-goal attempts. Jukkola averaged 9.1 points per game in his three-year varsity career compared to Maravich's 44.2 ppg. . . . Maravich's 59-point uprising against Alabama was not the season's single-game high. Houston's Hayes poured in a school-record 62 against Valparaiso. Hayes finished the season with an amazing cumulative average of 55.7 points and rebounds per game.
Florida's Neal Walk became the first Southerner in major-college history to pace the nation in rebounding. Walk's school-record tying 31-rebound effort against Alabama was his third game of the season with at least 27 boards. . . . Duke's Mike Lewis started the season with 20 straight double-doubles. . . . Duke managed just two field goals in a 12-10 defeat against North Carolina State in the ACC Tournament semifinals. The Blue Devils led at halftime, 4-2. It was the lowest-scoring game involving at least one major team in 26 years, marking the first time a squad won with fewer than 20 points since 1944. . . . North Carolina State tied for third place in the ACC after finishing in sole possession of the league cellar the previous year. . . . For the only time in ACC history, two members finished the season with at least 20 defeats--Wake Forest (5-21) and Clemson (4-20). . . . North Carolina was unbeaten in ACC competition until losing its last two regular-season games by the same score (87-86 to South Carolina and Duke). Larry Miller became the only two-time ACC Player of the Year for Carolina in the 20th Century.
Kentucky boasted more All-Americans than any school in the 20th Century. But a player who never earned A-A status set the school record for most points in his first varsity game. He is guard Mike Casey, who debuted with 28 at Michigan. . . . Georgia, coached by Ken Rosemond, compiled a 17-8 record to snap a streak of 16 consecutive losing seasons. . . . Tennessee's school-record 33-game homecourt winning streak ended when the Volunteers lost to Auburn, 53-52. . . . Vanderbilt, coached by Roy Skinner, upset three nationally-ranked teams (North Carolina, Davidson, Duke) within a week. But the biggest news for Vandy was Perry Wallace breaking the racial barrier and becoming the SEC's first African-American varsity basketball player. Wallace is now a Professor of Law at American University.
West Virginia finished runner-up to Davidson in the Southern Conference in the Mountaineers' final season as a member of the league. . . . The Ohio Valley Conference was in its heyday. Seven members of the 10-man All-OVC team would go on to play in the ABA and NBA in a year sandwiched between the dominance of Western Kentucky all-time greats Clem Haskins and Jim McDaniels.
Establishing school single-game scoring records were Creighton's Bob Portman (51 points vs. Wisconsin-Milwaukee), Connecticut's Bill Corley (51 vs. New Hampshire), Duquesne's Ron Guziak (50 vs. St. Francis, Pa., at Altoona), Southern Illinois' Dick Garrett (46 vs. Centenary), Louisville's Wes Unseld (45 vs. Georgetown, Ky., College), West Texas State's Simmie Hill (42 at Texas Western) and Massachusetts' Billy Tindall (41 vs. Vermont). Corley also grabbed 28 rebounds against New Hampshire when he set the Yankee Conference single-game scoring standard. . . . Niagara's Calvin Murphy, a 5-9 sophomore, posted the highest single-season scoring average for a major-college player shorter than 6-0 (38.2 points per game). . . . Murphy, Houston's Hayes (36.8 ppg), Oklahoma City's Rich Travis (29.9), Creighton's Bob Portman (29.5), West Texas State's Simmie Hill (27.3), Fred Foster (26.8) of Miami (Ohio) and Loyola of New Orleans' Charley Powell (26) set school Division I records for highest scoring average in a single season.
Rudy Tomjanovich, playing his first varsity game for Michigan when the Wolverines christened Crisler Arena, grabbed a still-existing arena record of 27 rebounds in a 96-79 defeat against Kentucky. . . . Houston's Hayes (37 at Centenary), Eastern Kentucky's Garfield Smith (33 vs. Marshall), North Carolina's Rusty Clark (30 vs. Maryland), Notre Dame's Bob Whitmore (tied with 30 vs. St. Norbert), Idaho State's Ed Wilson (30 vs. Pan American), Georgetown's Charlie Adrion (29 vs. George Washington), Bucknell's Craig Greenwood (28 vs. DePauw), Rhode Island's Art Stephenson (28 vs. Brown), St. Bonaventure's Bob Lanier (27 vs. Loyola, Md.), California's Bob Presley (27 vs. St. Mary's) and Western Michigan's Reggie Lacefield (26 at Illinois State) established school single-game rebounding records. Wilson set a Big Sky Conference standard by averaging 17.5 rebounds per game.
St. Peter's (24-4/coached by Don Kennedy) and Columbia (23-5/Jack Rohan) had their winningest seasons in school history. St. Peter's pounded Duke by 29 points (100-71) to reach the NIT semifinals. . . . Providence's streak of consecutive 20-win seasons under coach Joe Mullaney ended at nine when the Friars lost nine of their last 13 games to finish with an 11-14 record. . . . Long Island, winner of two of the first four NIT titles (1939 and 1941), participated in the NIT for the first time since 1950. LIU won its first 20 games until losing at St. Peter's, 70-59. . . . Boston College's Jack Kvancz, who earned the Bob Cousy Award as the top player in New England under six feet in height, went on to become coach at Catholic University. . . . Sixteen of St. John's first 24 games were decided by fewer than six points. The Lou Carnesecca-coached club won 11 of those 16 tight tilts. . . . Wandy Williams, Hofstra's leading scorer with 19.9 points per game, became a sixth-round draft choice of the Denver Broncos in 1969 as a running back/kick returner. . . . Ken Parker, finishing his Fordham career with averaqges of 4.9 ppg and 5.4 rpg, was selected in the NFL draft as a defensive back by the New York Giants and played 14 games for them two years later.
Army (20-5) lost its NIT opener to Notre Dame but the Bob Knight-coached Cadets finished in the top 20 of a final wire-service poll for the only time in school history. . . . Lehigh, coached by Roy Heckman, registered its only winning record (12-11) in a 27-year span from 1953-54 through 1979-80. . . . Princeton had three All-Ivy League first-team selections for the second straight season en route to its only appearance in the Top 10 of a final AP poll until 1998. . . . Marquette, after losing seven of its previous eight contests opposing DePaul, started a 19-game winning streak against the Blue Demons. . . . Notre Dame (21-9), coached by Johnny Dee, had 13 of its last 15 games decided by fewer than seven points.
Oklahoma City coach Abe Lemons, annoyed when his team trailed Duke, 49-38, at intermission of its NIT opener, kept his squad on the Madison Square Garden floor for a 10-minute workout. It didn't help as OCU lost, 97-81. . . . Texas Christian compiled its first winning mark in nine seasons (15-11) in Johnny Swaim's initial year as coach of the Horned Frogs. . . . Rob Evans, who led New Mexico State's NCAA playoff team in field-goal shooting (47.3%) and free-throw shooting (80.2%), went on to coach Mississippi and Arizona State. . . . New Mexico, coached by Bob King, finished in the Top 10 of a final AP poll for the only time in the 20th Century. . . . Loyola Marymount's Rick Adelman, the WCAC's player of the year, eventually coached four teams in the NBA's Western Division--Portland Trail Blazers, Golden State Warriors, Sacramento Kings and Houston Rockets.
Ohio State became the first Big Ten Conference team in three years to crack the 20-win plateau. The Buckeyes finished third in the NCAA playoffs after compiling a .500 record over the three previous seasons. . . . Indiana tied for last place in the Big Ten with a 4-10 league record one season after tying for the title with a 10-4 mark. . . . Forward Joe Franklin became Wisconsin's only All-Big Ten first-team selection in a 31-year span from 1952-53 through 1982-83. He averaged 22.7 points per game and a league-high 13.9 rebounds per contest. . . . Northwestern, 8-6 in the Big Ten under coach Larry Glass, posted its last winning record in conference competition in the 20th Century. . . . Miami (Ohio) suffered a season-ending defeat at home against Dayton to finish with the Redskins' only losing record (11-12) in a 16-year stretch from 1962-63 through 1977-78. . . . NIT champion Dayton, coached by Don Donoher, lost four one-point games after winning 20 of 25 contests decided by fewer than six points his first three full seasons as bench boss. . . . Kent State's Doug Grayson set an NCAA record for most consecutive successful field goals in a single game with 16 when he went 18 of 19 from the floor at North Carolina.
1968 NCAA Tournament
Summary: "I've never come out and said it," UCLA coach John Wooden said, "but it would be hard to pick a team over the 1968 team. I will say it would be the most difficult team to prepare for and play against offensively and defensively. It created so many problems. It had such great balance.
"We had the big center (Alcindor) who is the most valuable player of all time. Mike Warren was a three-year starter who may have been the most intelligent floor leader ever, going eight complete games once without a turnover. Lucius Allen was a very physical, talented individual who was extremely quick. Lynn Shackleford was a great shooter out of the corner who didn't allow defenses to sag on Jabbar. Mike Lynn didn't have power, but he had as fine a pair of hands around the boards as I have ever seen."
The roster for UCLA's 1968 national champion included six players with double-digit season scoring averages, but senior forward Edgar Lacey dropped off the team with an 11.9-point average following a dispute with Wooden after a highly-publicized mid-season defeat against Houston before 52,693 fans at the Astrodome. Lacey, assigned to defend Cougars star Elvin Hayes early in the game, was annoyed with Wooden for singling him out following Hayes' 29-point first-half outburst. Lacey, the leading rebounder for the Bruins' 1965 NCAA titlist when he was an All-Tournament team selection, missed the 1966-67 campaign because of a fractured left kneecap. Houston, entering the tourney undefeated, lost in the national semifinals against UCLA (101-69) when Hayes, averaging 37.6 points per game entering the Final Four, was restricted to 10 as the Bruins neutralized him by employing a "diamond-and-one" defense with Lynn Shackelford assigned to cover Hayes.
Star Gazing: St. Bonaventure, undefeated entering the tourney (22-0), lost in the East Regional semifinals against North Carolina (91-72) despite 23 points and nine rebounds by consensus second-team All-American Bob Lanier of the Bonnies. Another starter in their lineup was Jim Satalin, who went on to coach his alma mater in the 1968 NCAA Tournament. . . . Junior college transfer Roger Reid, who averaged 4.5 points per game in two seasons for playoff entrant Weber State, went on to coach Brigham Young in the NCAA Tournament five times in a six-year span from 1990 through 1995. . . . Houston's Don Chaney, averaging at least 13 points per game for a Houston squad reaching the Final Four for the second straight season, went on to coach the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers, Houston Rockets and Detroit Pistons.
Biggest Upset: Unranked Ohio State won at fifth-ranked Kentucky, 82-81, in the Mideast Regional final on Dave Sorenson's short bank shot with three seconds remaining. The Wildcats hadn't loss at home all season.
One and Only: Hayes became the only player to lead the playoffs in scoring and rebounding in back-to-back years. Hayes became the only player to lead a tournament in scoring by more than 60 points. Alcindor and his UCLA teammates helped hold Hayes to 10 points in the national semifinals, but the Big E finished with 167 points in five games. Alcindor, runner-up with 103 points in four games, committed six turnovers in each of the Final Four games. Hayes became the only player in tournament history to collect more than 40 points and 25 rebounds in the same game when he had tourney highs of 49 points and 27 rebounds in a 94-76 decision over Loyola of Chicago in the opening round of the Midwest Regional. Hayes holds the records for most rebounds in a playoff series (97 in five games as a senior) and career (222 in 13 games). He had five games with at least 24 rebounds, including the first three playoff games in 1968, before being held to five in a 101-69 national semifinal loss against UCLA. Hayes, posting the highest-ever scoring average for a Final Four player (36.8 ppg), also holds the record for most playoff field goals in a career with 152. He averaged almost 24 field goal attempts per game in helping the Cougars win nine of 13 contests.
Celebrity Status: Nolan Archibald, president and chief executive officer of Black & Decker, was Weber State's leading scorer with 14 points in the Wildcats' NCAA Tournament debut, a 68-57 defeat in the first round of the West Regional against Lou Henson-coached New Mexico State. . . . James Cash, a starting junior center for TCU's Midwest Regional runner-up, became Harvard's first African American-tenured professor in 1976 before being named chairman of the Harvard Business School MBA program in 1992. Teammate Mickey McCarty, the Horned Frogs' leading scorer and rebounder, became a fourth-round draft choice by the Kansas City Chiefs later in the year and played in three games for the 1969 Super Bowl champions as a tight end. . . . Houston's Carlos Bell, who collected nine points and five rebounds in seven minutes against UCLA in the national semifinals, went on to become a fourth-round draft choice by the New Orleans Saints in the 1971 NFL draft as a tight end. . . . Ohio State guard Jimmy Geddes, who played briefly against Dean Smith-coached North Carolina in the national semifinals, pitched briefly for the Chicago White Sox in 1972 and 1973.
Numbers Game: UCLA became the only champion to win its two Final Four games by a total of more than 50 points. The Bruins' 78-55 decision over North Carolina was the most lopsided triumph in championship game history until UNLV demolished Duke in 1990 (103-73). The Tar Heels reached the final despite shooting a modest 45.5 percent from the floor for the season. . . . This year marked the only time as many as three Final Four teams returned to the national semifinals for a second consecutive season--UCLA (champion both years under Wooden), Houston (third in '67 and fourth in '68 under Guy Lewis) and North Carolina (fourth in '67 and runner-up in '68 under Dean Smith). . . . Hayes led the tournament in scoring and rebounding by wide margins for fourth-place Houston, but he wasn't named to the all-tournament team. . . . UCLA's West Regional final victory over Santa Clara was the Broncos' only defeat in a 37-game stretch to February 21, 1969. . . . TCU advanced to a regional final for the only time in the 20th Century. . . . Ohio State eliminated Kentucky from the playoffs for the third time in the 1960s.
Putting Things in Perspective: Houston excelled although forward Melvin Bell, the third-leading scorer and second-leading rebounder for the '67 Final Four team, sat out the entire season after undergoing knee surgery. George Reynolds, the Cougars' starting point guard, missed the NCAA playoffs because he was ineligible to compete after failing to earn his junior college degree. Reynolds, 6-4, was runner-up to Hayes in scoring with 13 points and contributed five rebounds when Houston upset UCLA in the Astrodome extravaganza. . . . New Mexico defeated New Mexico State twice during the regular season, but lost at home to the Aggies, 62-58, in the West Regional third-place game. Both schools were ranked among the top 12 in the country.
Scoring Leader: Elvin Hayes, Houston (167 points, 33.4 ppg).
Rebounding Leader: Elvin Hayes, Houston (97 rebounds, 19.4 rpg).
Highest Rebounding Average: Wes Unseld, Louisville (20.5 rpg).
*Lew Alcindor, C, Jr., UCLA (53 points, 34 rebounds in final two games)
Lucius Allen, G, Jr., UCLA (30 points, 14 rebounds, 17 assists)
Larry Miller, F, Sr., North Carolina (34 points, 12 rebounds)
Lynn Shackleford, F, Jr., UCLA (23 points)
Mike Warren, G, Sr., UCLA (21 points, eight rebounds, 10 assists)
*Named Most Outstanding Player.
Championship Team Results
Regional Semifinal: UCLA 58 (Alcindor team-high 28 points), New Mexico State 49 (J. Collins 16)
Regional Final: UCLA 87 (Alcindor 22), Santa Clara 66 (Awtrey 17)
National Semifinal: UCLA 101 (Alcindor/Allen/Lynn 19), Houston 69 (Chaney/Spain 15)
Championship Game: UCLA 78 (Alcindor 34), North Carolina 55 (Miller 14)