The 1974 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament involved 25 schools playing in single-elimination play to determine the national champion of men's NCAA Division I college basketball. It was the first tournament to officially be designated as a Division I championship—previously, NCAA member schools had been divided into the "University Division" and "College Division". The NCAA created its current three-division setup, effective with the 1973–74 academic year, by moving all of its University Division schools to Division I and splitting the College Division members into Division II (fewer scholarships) and Division III (no athletic scholarships allowed). Previous tournaments would retroactively be considered Division I championships.
The tournament began on March 9, 1974, and ended with the championship game on March 25 in Greensboro, North Carolina. A total of 29 games were played, including a third place game in each region and a national third place game.
North Carolina State, coached by Norm Sloan, won the national title with a 76-64 victory in the final game over Marquette, coached by Al McGuire. This result ended UCLA's record streak of seven consecutive titles. David Thompson of North Carolina State was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player.
This was the final year that only conference champions could participate in the tournament. During the same time in 1974, the Collegiate Commissioners' Association held a tournament in St. Louis, Missouri. They invited the second-place teams from eight conferences to participate. In 1975, the NCAA would expand the field to include at-large bids.
UCLA's two big streaks were finally broken in 1974.
On Jan. 19 in South Bend, Notre Dame handed the No.1 Bruins their first defeat in four years, 71–70, coming from behind to halt UCLA's all-time NCAA winning streak at 88. Notre Dame was also the victor the last time UCLA lost a game in 1971.