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|F||Hot Plate Williams||6-8||85-86||15.8|
|Photos: Pettit (AP), Maravich (AP), O'Neal (Getty)|
|Eric Neel predicts ...|
"Some people on this team don't play team ball," Shaq tells Jim Gray after the pregame shootaround. "I'm not mentioning any names, but they know who they are, and they know I'm not happy about it."
Moments later, pulling up his baggy gray socks in the LSU locker room, Pistol Pete responds to the comment, relayed by Gray. "I don't know who he's talking about. But I can tell you this: I'm in shape. I prepare. I come to play. And unlike some people, I will be there in the final five minutes."
There's some other stuff to tell, about how -- just the way he did in '95 -- Hakeem spins the Daddy dizzy. And how Pettit, graceful as he is, can't match Clyde the Glide's explosiveness. But the pregame chatter is the beginning of the Tigers' end.
Final score: Houston 92, LSU 84
|Photos: Hayes (AP), Olajuwon (Wireimage.com), Drexler (Wireimage.com)|
|Scoop Jackson predicts ...|
Is Elvin Hayes better than Bob Pettit? But the question in this scenario is: Does he have a better game than Pettit? Or if they both have normal games, who comes out on top? Now ask the same question about everyone. Is Otis Birdsong better than Chris Jackson? Yes. Is Clyde Drexler better than Pistol Pete Maravich? No. Is Don Chaney better than Rudy Macklin? In the pros, yes; in the NCAA, no. Is Shaquille O'Neal better than Hakeem Olajuwon? Damn. John Williams against Michael Young? Who wins that matchup? Dwight Davis verses big Stan? Who wins that bench battle?
In a game of strictly matchups, this game -- the pound-for-pound greatest game of this tournament -- comes down to one matchup, the answer to that one question. Is Elvin Hayes better than Bob Pettit in this one game? And the answer is -- based solely on his 39-point, 15-rebound, eight-block performance on Jan. 20, 1968, The Game of The Century, the biggest game in NCAA history, when Big E upset UCLA and Alcindor -- yes.
Final score: Houston 111, LSU 108