The 1973 NCAA University Division 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.
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.
The city of St. Louis became the 12th host city, and the St. Louis Arena became the thirteenth host venue, of the Final Four. The arena, home to the St. Louis Blues of the NHL and, at the time, the St. Louis Billikens basketball team, was the first of five straight venues to host the Final Four for the first time, and it was the first time the tournament was held in the city of St. Louis as well. Besides the St. Louis Arena, only one other venue made its debut in the tournament. For the second straight year, the tournament opened a new city in the state of Tennessee; this time, it was the capital city of Nashville. Memorial Gym on the campus of Vanderbilt University would go on to host the tournament four times overall before tournament games in the city were moved to the downtown Bridgestone Arena in 2000. Additionally, only one venue saw its final games in the 1972 Tournament, with William & Mary Hall ending its usage in the tournament. The tournament has come back to the state of Virginia twice since, both times being at the Richmond Coliseum in the capital city of Richmond.
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 1974–1975 season.