The 1978 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament involved 32 schools playing in single-elimination play to determine the national champion of men's NCAA Division I college basketball. It began on March 11, 1978, and ended with the championship game on March 27 in St. Louis, Missouri. A total of 32 games were played, including a national third place game.
The process of seeding the bracket was first used in this tournament. 16 conference winners with automatic bids were seeded 1 through 4 in each region. At-large teams were seeded 1 through 4 in each region separately. There were in fact only 11 true at-large teams in the field, as the remaining 5 teams were conference winners with automatic bids who were seeded as "at-large." The practice of distinguishing between automatic and at-large teams was ended after the tournament, and the expanded field of 40 was simply seeded from 1 to 10 in the 1979 tournament.
Kentucky, coached by Joe B. Hall, won the national title with a 94-88 victory in the final game over Duke, coached by Bill E. Foster. Jack Givens of Kentucky was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player.
The biggest upset of the tournament took place in the first round, when little-heralded Miami University (Ohio) defeated defending champion Marquette 84-81 in overtime. The victory was even sweeter for Miami Redskin fans as former Marquette coach Al McGuire had earlier strongly criticized the NCAA for matching Marquette against Kentucky in the second round, with Marquette being given a first-round opponent in Miami that was not supposedly not even worthy of providing an adequate tune-up game for Marquette.