1968 NCAA University Division Basketball Tournament

The 1968 NCAA University Division Basketball Tournament involved 23 schools playing in single-elimination play to determine the national champion of men's NCAA Division I college basketball. It began on March 8, 1968, and ended with the championship game on March 23 in Los Angeles, California. A total of 27 games were played, including a third place game in each region and a national third place game.

1968 NCAA University Division
Basketball Tournament
Finals siteSports Arena
Los Angeles, California
ChampionsUCLA Bruins (4th title, 4th title game)
Runner-upNorth Carolina Tar Heels (3rd title game,
4th Final Four)
Winning coachJohn Wooden (4th title)
MOPLew Alcindor (UCLA)
Top scorerElvin Hayes Houston
(167 points)
NCAA Division I Men's Tournaments
«1967 1969»

UCLA, coached by John Wooden, won the national title with a 78–55 victory in the final game over North Carolina, coached by Dean Smith. Lew Alcindor of UCLA was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player for the second of three consecutive years. This UCLA team, composed of three All-Americans, Player of the Year Alcindor, Lucius Allen, and Mike Warren, along with dead eye pure shooter Lynn Shackleford (most of his shots would be 3 pointers today) and burly senior power forward Mike Lynn is considered to be one of the greatest teams in college basketball history.

The NCAA semi-final match between the Houston Cougars and UCLA Bruins was a re-match of the college basketball Game of the Century held in January at the Astrodome, in the Cougars' home city. The match was historic, the first nationally syndicated college basketball game and the first to play in a domed stadium before more than 52,000 fans. It was UCLA's only loss in two years, a two-pointer, to the then-#2 Houston, but with UCLA's dominating center Alcindor playing with an eye injury that limited his effectiveness after being hospitalized the week before. The loss broke a 47-game winning streak for UCLA. In the March NCAA Tournament Final 4, the Bruins at full strength avenged that loss with a 101–69 drubbing of that same Houston team, now ranked #1, in UCLA's home city at the Memorial Sports Arena. UCLA limited Houston's Elvin Hayes, who was averaging 37.7 points per game but was held to only 10. Bruins coach John Wooden credited his assistant, Jerry Norman, for devising the diamond-and-one defense that contained Hayes.[1][2]


Round Region Site Venue Host
First Round East College Park, Maryland Cole Field House Maryland
East Kingston, Rhode Island Keaney Gymnasium URI
Mideast Kent, Ohio Memorial Gymnasium Kent State
& West
Salt Lake City, Utah Nielsen Fieldhouse Utah
Regionals East Raleigh, North Carolina Reynolds Coliseum North Carolina State
Mideast Lexington, Kentucky Memorial Coliseum Kentucky
Midwest Wichita, Kansas WSU Field House Wichita State
West Albuquerque, New Mexico University Arena ("The Pit") New Mexico
Final Four Los Angeles, California Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena USC

The city of Los Angeles became the tenth host city, and the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena the eleventh host venue, of the Final Four. The arena, adjacent to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum at Exposition Park, was at the time the off-campus home of the University of Southern California, located just across the street from the park. The brackets followed the same pattern as the previous tournament, with two first round sites in the East and a combined Midwest & West first round site. Besides the Sports Arena, there were two other new venues used in the 1968 tournament, both in the west. The West regional games were held in the city of Albuquerque for the first time, at "The Pit" on the campus of the University of New Mexico. Salt Lake City hosted games for the first time as well, with Nielsen Fieldhouse on the campus of the University of Utah hosted the Midwest & West first round games. This would be Nielsen Fieldhouse's only time hosting games, with its replacement, the Special Events Center, hosting future games in the city. It was also the final time hosting for Kent State University; it would be thirty-two years before the tournament would return to northeast Ohio, with future games held in the city of Cleveland. Any future tournament games to be played in Los Angeles County would be played at The Forum, SoFi Stadium or Staples Center other than Pauley Pavilion.


Region Team Coach Conference Finished Final Opponent Score
East Boston College Bob Cousy Independent First round St. Bonaventure L 102–93
East Columbia John Rohan Ivy League Regional Third Place St. Bonaventure W 95–75
East Davidson Lefty Driesell Southern Regional Runner-up North Carolina L 70–66
East La Salle Jim Harding Middle Atlantic First round Columbia L 83–69
East North Carolina Dean Smith Atlantic Coast Runner Up UCLA L 78–55
East St. Bonaventure Larry Weise Independent Regional Fourth Place Columbia L 95–75
East St. John's Lou Carnesecca Independent First round Davidson L 79–70
Mideast Bowling Green Bill Fitch Mid-American First round Marquette L 72–71
Mideast East Tennessee State J. Madison Brooks Ohio Valley Regional Fourth Place Marquette L 69–57
Mideast Florida State Hugh Durham Independent First round East Tennessee State L 79–69
Mideast Kentucky Adolph Rupp Southeastern Regional Runner-up Ohio State L 82–81
Mideast Marquette Al McGuire Independent Regional Third Place East Tennessee State W 69–57
Mideast Ohio State Fred Taylor Big Ten Third Place Houston W 89–85
Midwest Houston Guy Lewis Independent Fourth Place Ohio State L 89–85
Midwest Kansas State Tex Winter Big Eight Regional Fourth Place Louisville L 93–63
Midwest Louisville John Dromo Missouri Valley Regional Third Place Kansas State W 93–63
Midwest Loyola–Chicago George Ireland Independent First round Houston L 94–76
Midwest TCU Johnny Swaim Southwest Regional Runner-up Houston L 103–68
West New Mexico Bob King Western Athletic Regional Fourth Place New Mexico State L 62–58
West New Mexico State Lou Henson Independent Regional Third Place New Mexico W 62–58
West Santa Clara Dick Garibaldi West Coast Athletic Regional Runner-up UCLA L 87–66
West UCLA John Wooden AAWU Champion North Carolina W 78–55
West Weber State Dick Motta Big Sky First round New Mexico State L 68–57


The 1968 tournament bracket as depicted in NCAA's monthly press newsletter

* – Denotes overtime period

East regionEdit

Quarterfinals Semifinals Finals
  North Carolina 91
  St. Bonaventure 72
  St. Bonaventure 102
  Boston College 93
  North Carolina 70
  Davidson 66
  Davidson 79
  St. John's 70
  Davidson 61
  Columbia 59*
  Columbia 83
  La Salle 69

Mideast regionEdit

Quarterfinals Semifinals Finals
  Ohio State 79
  East Tennessee State 72
  East Tennessee State 79
  Florida State 69
  Ohio State 82
  Kentucky 81
  Kentucky 107
  Marquette 89
  Marquette 72
  Bowling Green 71

Midwest regionEdit

Quarterfinals Semifinals Finals
  TCU 77
  Kansas State 72
  TCU 68
  Houston 103
  Louisville 75
  Houston 91
  Houston 94
  Loyola–Chicago 76

West regionEdit

Quarterfinals Semifinals Finals
  Santa Clara 86
  New Mexico 73
  Santa Clara 66
  UCLA 87
  UCLA 58
  New Mexico State 49
  New Mexico State 68
  Weber State 57

Final FourEdit

National Semifinals National Championship Game
E North Carolina 80
ME Ohio State 66
E North Carolina 55
MW Houston 69
W UCLA 101

National Third-Place GameEdit

National Third Place Game
ME Ohio State 89
MW Houston 85

Regional Third-Place GamesEdit


  • This would be the last year of the 23 team field, as the field would stay at 25 teams for the next six seasons until the expansion of the field to 32 teams in the 1975 tournament.
  • Four teams - East Tennessee State, Florida State, New Mexico and Weber State - made their tournament debuts. Weber State would return to the tournament for five consecutive seasons; Florida State and New Mexico would not return until 1972 and 1974, respectively; and East Tennessee State would not return for 21 seasons, until 1989.
  • Two teams - Bowling Green and Columbia - made their most recent tournament appearances in this tournament. They are tied for the third longest active drought behind Tennessee Tech (1963) and Dartmouth (1959), and are currently tied with Yale (1962-2016) for the fourth longest drought all-time, after Tennessee Tech, Dartmouth and Harvard (1946-2012, 66 years).

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Esper, Dwain (March 25, 1968). "Bruins Hope Norman Stays". The Independent. Pasadena, California. p. 15. Retrieved July 22, 2015 – via Newspapers.com. 
  2. ^ Gasaway, John (June 7, 2010). "John Wooden's Century". Basketball Prospectus. Archived from the original on 2015-07-22. Retrieved 2015-07-23.