Game of the Century


“In men’s college basketball, the Game of the Century was a historic National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) game between the Houston Cougars and the UCLA Bruins played on January 20, 1968, at the Astrodome in Houston, Texas. It was the first NCAA regular season game broadcast nationwide in prime time. It established college basketball as a sports commodity on television and paved the way for the modern ‘March Madness‘ television coverage. The UCLA Bruins were the dominant NCAA men’s basketball program of the era, having won Division I championships in 1964, 1965, and 1967. Houston Cougars coach Guy Lewis wanted to prove his program’s worth to his critics, so he decided to schedule UCLA. Houston and UCLA had met in the previous season in the semifinals of the 1967 NCAA Tournament. UCLA had prevailed against Houston 73–58, and won their 3rd NCAA championship. Ted Nance, the sports information director for the University of Houston, put the schedule together. UCLA sports information director J. D. Morgan talked Bruin head coach John Wooden into the game by explaining how great it would be for college basketball. Nance put advertisements in the Cougar football programs touting the game as the ‘Game of the Century.’ The game was televised nationally via a syndication package through the TVS Television Network, with Dick Enberg announcing and Bob Pettit providing color commentary. Morgan had insisted to TVS owner Eddie Einhorn that TVS use Enberg, the Bruins’ play-by-play announcer. Einhorn paid $27,000 for the broadcast rights on TVS. TVS signed up 120 stations, many of which would preempt regularly scheduled network programming. The basketball floor actually came from the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena. The Bruins arrived in Houston with a 47-game, two-and-a-half-season winning streak. The Cougars were also undefeated since the last meeting between the two teams. The first half between the AP Poll‘s No. 1 UCLA and No. 2 Houston closed with the Cougars up by three points. The second half saw the tension between the squads highlighted within the matchup of Houston’s Elvin Hayes and UCLA’s Lew Alcindor (later known as Kareem Abdul Jabbar). Hayes, a 6-foot-9 forward, was not directly matched against the 7–2 Alcindor, but he did block three of Alcindor’s shots, and the crowd roared his nickname, ‘Big E.’ … In the end, the Cougars pulled the upset, 71–69, ending the Bruins’ 47-game winning streak. …”
Wikipedia
NCAA – March Madness: How 1968’s Game of the Century forever shaped basketball history (Video)
The 100 Greatest Plays in College Basketball History
YouTube: 1968 Game of the Century, ***1968 NCAA All Americans : Alcindor, Maravich, Hayes, Unseld & Miller

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
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