The 1977 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament involved 32 American schools playing in single-elimination play to determine the National Champion of Men's NCAADivision Icollege basketball. It began on Saturday, March 12, 1977, and ended with the championship game on Monday, March 28 in Atlanta, Georgia. A total of 32 games were played, including a national third place game. This was the final tournament in which teams were not seeded.
Marquette, coached by Al McGuire, won the national title with a 67–59 victory in the final game over North Carolina, coached by Dean Smith. Butch Lee of Marquette was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. Publicly announcing his retirement during the middle of the season, McGuire retired as head coach immediately after the game.UNLV and UNC Charlotte (now known by the shorter "Charlotte") were third and fourth place, respectively. Marquette's seven losses were a record at the time for the most losses in a season by a national champion, exceeded four years later in 1981 by Indiana with nine.
All four regionals were played on Thursday and Saturday. The opening round the preceding weekend played twelve games on Saturday and four on Sunday.
Most of the excitement surrounding the Western Regional was the anticipated matchup between top 5 ranked teams UCLA and UNLV. UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian had lost 3 times in the tournament to UCLA while he was at Long Beach State, including a heartbreaking 57-55 loss in the 1971 West Regional final in which Long Beach State led by 11 in the second half. Many felt this UNLV team gave him the best opportunity to beat his longtime nemesis. But he never got the chance as UCLA was stunned in the regional semi final by unranked Idaho State. This was the first time since 1963 that UCLA made the tournament but failed to get to the Final Four. UNLV went on to easily beat Idaho State 107-90.