Guy V. Lewis enthusiastically promoted #2 Houston’s game in the Astrodome against #1 UCLA, set for Saturday night, January 20th, 1968. Along with TV executive Eddie Einhorn, Lewis pushed the story to sports writers for years and as the game approached, many jumped on the bandwagon before traveling to Houston to cover the game. It would be the first-ever nationally televised regular-season college basketball game.
The novelty of televising the game meant that Einhorn needed sports writers to talk it up. In turn, fans demanded their local stations pick it up in syndication since no network had exclusive rights to broadcast the game.
In the days leading up to The Game of the Century, thousands of stories were written all over the country. Most picked UCLA to win, but an eye injury to Lew Alcindor (now Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) at Berkeley the previous weekend left him doubtful for the game. It was that eye injury that caused Kareem recurring corneal erosion syndrome and forced him to wear goggles during his pro career.
The day before the game, UCLA flew to Houston Friday following a Thursday night game against the Portland Pilots. Alcindor did not play in that game or even attend it, although he appeared afterward to sign autographs. UCLA went straight from the airport to the Astrodome for a shoot-around, as John Wooden teams did for almost every game of his storied career.
Here is a sampling of some of the national coverage from the day before the game – Friday, January 19, 1968:
GoCoogs.com’s Full Game Of The Century Coverage
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