The 1973 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament involved 25 schools playing in single-elimination play to determine the national champion of men's NCAA University Division (the predecessor to today's Division I, which would be created later in 1973) college basketball. It began on March 10, 1973, and ended with the championship game on March 26 in St. Louis, Missouri. A total of 29 games were played, including a third place game in each region and a national third place game. This was the first year that the championship game was held on a Monday night, after the semifinals on Saturday. It has remained that way ever since. Previously the championship game was on Saturday with the semi finals on either Thursday or Friday.
UCLA, coached by John Wooden, won the national title with an 87–66 victory in the final game over Memphis State, coached by Gene Bartow. This gave UCLA their 7th consecutive title. Bill Walton of UCLA was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. This year's Final Four marked the first time the championship game was televised on a Monday night in prime time, a practice which continues as of 2012.
The UCLA - Memphis State championship game made USA Today's list of the greatest NCAA tournament games of all time at #18. Bill Walton set a championship game record, hitting 21 of 22 shots and scoring 44 points.
Trivia: Indiana had a home floor advantage. Bobby Knight did not like the floor, so he had the floor shipped in from Indiana and installed in the St. Louis Arena.
The 1973 NC State Wolfpack team averaged 93 ppg, led the nation in win margin (21.8 ppg), and posted a 27–0 record, but was ineligible for postseason play because of NCAA probation. David Thompson, a two-time national Player of the Year, and All-American Tom Burleson, led NC State to a 30–1 record the following season, losing only to seven-time defending champion UCLA. The Wolfpack avenged its only loss during the two-year period by defeating UCLA in the 1974 Final Four and winning the title.
Gene Bartow, the Memphis State coach, would be John Wooden's successor at UCLA after the 1975–1976 season.