The 1981 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament involved 48 schools playing in single-elimination play to determine the national champion of men's NCAA Division I college basketball. It began on March 12, 1981, and ended with the championship game on March 30 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A total of 48 games were played, including a national third place game (the last in the NCAA tournament).
Indiana, coached by Bob Knight, won the national title with a 63-50 victory in the final game over North Carolina, coached by Dean Smith. Isiah Thomas of Indiana was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player.
Indiana claimed its fourth NCAA championship and second under Bob Knight by knocking off Dean Smith and North Carolina 63-50 as Hoosiers guard Isiah Thomas was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player.