NCAA logo from 1971 to 1979
|Finals site||Memorial Sports Arena|
Los Angeles, California
|Champions||UCLA Bruins (8th title, 8th title game,|
9th Final Four)
|Runner-up||Florida State Seminoles (1st title game,|
1st Final Four)
|Winning coach||John Wooden (8th title)|
|MOP||Bill Walton (UCLA)|
|Top scorer||Jim Price Louisville|
The 1972 NCAA University Division Basketball Tournament involved 25 schools playing in single-elimination play to determine the national champion of NCAA University Division (now Division I) college basketball. It began on Saturday, March 11, and ended with the championship game in Los Angeles on Saturday, March 25. A total of 29 games were played, including a third place game in each region and a national third place game.
Led by longtime head coach John Wooden, the undefeated UCLA Bruins won the national title with an 81–76 victory in the final game over Florida State, coached by Hugh Durham. Sophomore center Bill Walton of UCLA was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player; the first of two consecutive.
In a historically significant note, the Southwestern Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns made the tournament in their first season of eligibility for postseason play; the next to achieve this feat was North Dakota State in 2009. SW Louisiana also made the tournament in 1973, but due to major infractions that resulted in the basketball program receiving the NCAA death penalty (and very nearly expelled from the NCAA altogether), both appearances have since been vacated and the records expunged.
This was the last year in which the championship game was played on Saturday; it moved to Monday night in 1973.
|First Round||East||Jamaica, New York||Alumni Hall||St. John's|
|East||Princeton, New Jersey||Jadwin Gymnasium||Princeton|
|East||Williamsburg, Virginia||William & Mary Hall||William & Mary|
|Mideast||Knoxville, Tennessee||Stokely Athletic Center||Tennessee|
|Midwest||Las Cruces, New Mexico||Pan American Center||NMSU|
|West||Pocatello, Idaho||ASISU Minidome||Idaho State|
|Regionals||East||Morgantown, West Virginia||WVU Coliseum||West Virginia|
|Mideast||Dayton, Ohio||University of Dayton Arena||Dayton|
|Midwest||Ames, Iowa||Hilton Coliseum||Iowa State|
|West||Provo, Utah||Marriott Center||BYU|
|Final Four||Los Angeles, California||Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena||USC|
For the second time, the city of Los Angeles and the LA Memorial Sports Arena hosted the Final Four. To date, this is the last Final Four to be held in the city, although the city and region continue to host games to this day. The tournament saw five new venues and three new host cities used for the first time. For the first time, the tournament came to the campus of Iowa State University and the Hilton Coliseum, then in its first year of operation. The first games held in the state of Tennessee were held this year at the Stokely Athletic Center on the campus of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. For the third time, games were held in the state of Virginia, this time at William & Mary Hall on the campus of the College of William & Mary.
Games were held at the brand-new Marriott Center, then the largest basketball arena in the country, on the campus of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, replacing the Smith Fieldhouse. And at Idaho State University in Pocatello, games were held in the two-year-old Minidome, having previously been played at Reed Gym in 1957. To date, this is the last time games were held at either the Hilton Coliseum or at Jadwin Gymnasium on the campus of Princeton University, the only Ivy League gymnasium other than the Palestra used in the tournament.
|East||East Carolina||Tom Quinn||First round||Villanova||L 85–70|
|East||North Carolina||Dean Smith||Third Place||Louisville||W 105–91|
|East||Penn||Chuck Daly||Regional Runner-up||North Carolina||L 73–59|
|East||Providence||Dave Gavitt||First round||Penn||L 76–60|
|East||South Carolina||Frank McGuire||Regional Third Place||Villanova||W 90–78|
|East||Temple||Harry Litwack||First round||South Carolina||L 53–51|
|East||Villanova||Jack Kraft||Regional Fourth Place||South Carolina||L 90–78|
|Mideast||Eastern Kentucky||Guy Strong||First round||Florida State||L 83–81|
|Mideast||Florida State||Hugh Durham||Runner Up||UCLA||L 81–76|
|Mideast||Kentucky||Adolph Rupp||Regional Runner-up||Florida State||L 73–54|
|Mideast||Marquette||Al McGuire||Regional Fourth Place||Minnesota||L 77–72|
|Mideast||Minnesota||Bill Musselman||Regional Third Place||Marquette||W 77–72|
|Mideast||Ohio||James Snyder||First round||Marquette||L 73–49|
|Midwest||Houston||Guy Lewis||First round||Texas||L 85–74|
|Midwest||Kansas State||Jack Hartman||Regional Runner-up||Louisville||L 72–65|
|Midwest||Southwestern Louisiana (Vacated)||Beryl Shipley||Regional Third Place||Texas||W 100–70|
|Midwest||Louisville||Denny Crum||Fourth Place||North Carolina||L 105–91|
|Midwest||Marshall||Carl Tacy||First round||Southwestern Louisiana||L 112–101|
|Midwest||Texas||Leon Black||Regional Fourth Place||Southwestern Louisiana||L 100–70|
|West||BYU||Stan Watts||First round||Long Beach State||L 95–90|
|West||Hawaii||Red Rocha||First round||Weber State||L 91–64|
|West||Long Beach State||Jerry Tarkanian||Regional Runner-up||UCLA||L 73–57|
|West||San Francisco||Bob Gaillard||Regional Third Place||Weber State||W 74–64|
|West||UCLA||John Wooden||Champion||Florida State||W 81–76|
|West||Weber State||Gene Visscher||Regional Fourth Place||San Francisco||L 74–64|
* – Denotes overtime period
|East Regional Third Place|
|Mideast Regional Third Place|
|Midwest Regional Third Place|
|Long Beach State||57|
|Long Beach State||75|
|Long Beach State||95|
|West Regional Third Place|
Thursday, March 23
|National Championship Game|
Saturday, March 25
|W||UCLA||96||National Third Place Game|
Saturday, March 25
- 1972 NCAA College Division Basketball Tournament
- 1972 National Invitation Tournament
- 1972 NAIA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament
- 1972 National Women's Invitation Tournament
- Kirkpatrick, Curry (April 3, 1972). "Oh, Johnny, Oh, Johnny Oh!". Sports Illustrated. p. 30.
- "Super soph Bill Walton sparkles; Bruins earn another NCAA title". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. March 26, 1972. p. 1, sports.
- "It was the same old story-- Bruins win NCAA crown". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. March 26, 1972. p. 1D.
- "Woodside hits jumper with 3 seconds left to push N. Dakota St. to Summit title". ESPN. Associated Press. 2009-03-10. Retrieved 2009-03-11.