The 1968 national championship, in retrospect, was pretty fascinating.
It featured an aging John Wooden who had turned UCLA into the greatest dynasty in the history of college sports and who still had seven years (and six titles) left, vs. a rising star in UNC’s Dean Smith.
Like most Western teams, UCLA was already integrated, something that appealed immensely to star Lew Alcindor, now known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and UNC was in the early stages.
By 1975, Wooden would be gone and Smith, along with Indiana’s Bob Knight, would be seen as the best two coaches in America.
But in 1968, the UCLA dynasty was in full blossom and What’s striking here is how fast UCLA is. It’s not like UNC was really slow, but UCLA just is on a different level.
UCLA’s class of ‘69 would lose just one game in three seasons, to Houston when Jabbar had an eye injury. In the Final Four rematch, UCLA annihilated Houston 101-69 just as they annihilated almost everyone in their path.
In this game, UCLA took care of UNC 78-55. Jabbar finished with 34 points and 16 rebounds. UNC’s center, Rusty Clark, who looks quite nervous at the beginning of this video, had nine points and eight boards.