The 1961 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament involved 24 schools playing in single-elimination play to determine the national champion of men's NCAA Division I college basketball in the United States. It began on March 14, 1961, and ended with the championship game on March 25 in Kansas City, Missouri. A total of 28 games were played, including a third place game in each region and a national third place game.
Cincinnati, coached by Ed Jucker, won the national title with a 70-65 victory in the final game over state rival Ohio State, coached by Fred Taylor. Jerry Lucas of Ohio State was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player.
The national third place game, won by St. Joseph's over Utah by the score of 127-120 in four overtimes, tied the record for the longest game in NCAA Division I tournament history, set in 1956 in a first-round game between Canisius and North Carolina State. As of the regional finals of the 2009 tournament, no NCAA Division I tournament games since then have gone to a fourth overtime period.