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The 1968 Championship Team

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The drama of UCLA's 1967-68 regular season rests not on their 25 victories, but on their one defeat. In the 1967 NCAA Tournament, Elvin Hayes of Houston thought the Bruins were overrated, and claimed that Houston would have beat them if his teammates hadn't let him down. The rematch was at the Houston Astrodome on January 20th, 1968. The unbeaten #2 Cougars beat the unbeaten #1 Bruins, and they switched places in the poll.

There were extenuating circumstances surrounding the victory. Eight days before the game, Lew Alcindor had injured his eye, after which he spent 3 days in the hospital. He played, but he was a shadow of himself, shooting 4 for 18 for the game. Houston won by 2 points.

[1968 Championship Team]
TOP (l to r): John Wooden, Jerry Norman, Ken Heitz, Lynn Shackelford, Jim Nielsen, Lew Alcindor, Mike Lynn, Neville Saner, Bill Sweek, Ducky Drake, Frank Adler (manager), BOTTOM: Mike Warren, Gene Sutherland, Lucius Allen.

Houston and UCLA remained ranked 1 & 2, respectively, through the rest of the season and both bulldozed their way to a rematch in the Final Four at the LA Sports Arena. UCLA played a diamond-and-one defense, with Alcindor under the basket and Lynn Shackelford shadowing Hayes. It worked spectacularly. UCLA held Hayes to 10 points and blew out Houston by 32 points with their opponent for the final (North Carolina) watching from the stands. The next day they dismantled the intimidated Tarheels in equally impressive fashion. Alcindor, Shakelford, Lucius Allen, and Mike Warren all made the All Tournament team, with Alcindor winning the Most Outstanding Player.

March 15: NCAA West Regional semi-final at Albequerque, New Mexico:


New Mexico State 49

Leading Scorers:

Alcindor 28
Warren 10

Collins 16
Evans 14

March 16: NCAA West Regional final at Albequerque, New Mexico:


Santa Clara 66

Leading Scorers:

Alcindor 22
Allen 21
Warren 15
Lynn 10

Awtrey 17
B. Ogden 13
R. Ogden 11
O'Brien 7

March 22: NCAA Championship semi-final at Los Angeles Sports Arena:

UCLA 101

Houston 69

Leading Scorers:

Alcindor 19
Lynn 19
Allen 19
Shackelford 17
Warren 14

Spain 15
Chaney 15
Hayes 10
Hamood 10
Bell 9

March 23: NCAA Championship final at Los Angeles Sports Arena:


North Carolina 55

Leading Scorers:

Alcindor 34
Allen 11

Miller 14
Scott 12

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