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 NCAA Division I college basketball. It began on March 12, 1977, and ended with the championship game on March 28 in Atlanta, Georgia. A total of 32 games were played, including a national third place game.
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 Charlotte (at that time known by a longer abbreviation of its full name, UNC Charlotte) were third and fourth place, respectively.
Still another North Carolina school, N.C-Charlotte, almost beat McGuire in the semifinals, but Butch Lee and Jerome Whitehead saved the game. With three seconds left, Lee heaved a court-length pass to Whitehead (off the fingertips of UNCC's Cornbread Maxwell) for the dunk and a 51–49 win.