1969 College Basketball Recap
The Lew Alcindor Era came to an unprecedented close as UCLA became the first team to win three straight NCAA championships and Alcindor became the tournament's first three-time Most Outstanding Player.
The victory in the finals gave Alcindor an overall record of 88–2 in three seasons, the only losses coming to Houston in 1968 and Southern Cal this year—a 46–44 freeze-o-rama in the final Pac-8 game of the season that broke the Uclans' 85-game winning streak at home.
Any thought that UCLA might be ripe for the picking in the NCAAs vanished when No.3 Santa Clara (26–1) met the Bruins in the West Regional final and was trashed, 90–52. UCLA had a lot of trouble with Drake in the semifinals before winning by three, then drubbed Purdue by 20 in the title game as Alcindor bowed out with 37 points.
La Salle, 23–1 and ranked second in the country, was ineligible for the tournament due to academic and recruiting violations that occurred before Tom Gola took over the program in 1968.
Maravich won the scoring title again, breaking his single season record with an average of 44.2. And University of Detroit sophomore Spencer Haywood, the hero of the 1968 U.S. Olympic team, was the nation's rebounding leader with 21.5 boards a game. Haywood turned pro before the year was out and led Denver to an ABA championship in 1970 while being named Rookie of the Year and MVP.