Actually, Alabama Is UH’s First-Ever Home Game Matching Top-10 Teams


Media guides are helpful information for people like me who delight in the statistics and dates of yesteryear. GoCoogs celebrates days in history when UH won big games or had significant moments. We get most of our information from media guides but often use historical newspapers and other digital assets.

We rarely find mistakes, but they do happen. Today, we found one that changes the “storyline” around Alabama/Houston.

Each of Jeff Conrad, UH’s Men’s Basketball communications wizard, Joseph Duarte of the Houston Chronicle, and I looked it up and verified that #7 Houston playing #6 New Mexico on December 1, 1966, was the last (and only) time that a top-10 Houston hosted a top-10 opponent. That’s what the media guide shows. But after digging further, I realized the media guide was wrong.

December 1 was opening night across college basketball in 1966, but UH did not play #6 UNM that night. Instead, they played a small Catholic school (now defunct) called the University of Albuquerque. I noticed it only because I was looking for possible photos of the game and saw that the 1967 Houstonian Yearbook says UH played Albuquerque, not New Mexico.

That night, UNM played the first-ever game in the Pit against Abilene Christian. It was a big deal in the state.

UH hosted the Albuquerque Dons at Delmar. The score of the Albuquerque game (96-84) is what the UH media guide states as the score for the UH/UNM game.

The point totals for Elvin Hayes and Melvin Bell are what Duarte wrote earlier this week about the game (they combined for 62 points). Searching for the game in newspaper archives, I found a game story and box score from the Albuquerque Tribune.

I sent this information to Jeff Conrad, and he was able to verify the issue quickly:

Sometime before the 1994-95 season, the Men’s Basketball media guide underwent a redesign. During that process, the December 1, 1966, for some reason, the opponent was changed from Albuquerque to New Mexico in the media guide and stayed that way.

With this information, it is clear that the Alabama game will be the first-ever top-10 matchup played at The University of Houston.

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