The 1952 NCAA Basketball Tournament involved 16 schools playing in single-elimination play to determine the national champion of men's NCAA Division Icollege basketball. It began on March 21, 1952, and ended with the championship game on March 26 in Seattle. A total of 20 games were played, including a third place game in each region and a national third place game.
This tournament was the first to have a true "Final Four" format, with the winners at four regional sites advancing to the final site—although the four regionals did not receive distinct names until the 1956 tournament. It was also the first to have regional television coverage.
Seattle and Hec Edmundson Pavilion became the first hosts of the true Final Four; prior to this, the national semifinal games were hosted at the regional sites. It also made them the third host city and venue, after New York's Madison Square Garden and the Kansas City Municipal Auditorium, to host the National Championship multiple times. For the second year in a row, Reynolds Coliseum served as a host venue to the tournament, hosting one of the two East regionals. The Municipal Auditorium also continued its streak of hosting games, hosting one of the West regionals. The arena had been used in every tournament except the first up to this point. For the second time, the tournament returned to the Chicago area, this time hosting games at Chicago Stadium, one of the largest arenas in the country at the time. And for the first time, the tournament came to the state of Oregon, with West regional games played at the Oregon State Coliseum on the campus of then-Oregon State College.