1978 NCAA Division I Basketball Tournament
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1978 NCAA Division I Basketball Tournament
1978 NCAA Division I
Basketball Tournament
NCAA 70s logo.svg
NCAA logo from 1971 to 1979
Finals siteThe Checkerdome
St. Louis, Missouri
ChampionsKentucky Wildcats (5th title, 7th title game,
8th Final Four)
Runner-upDuke Blue Devils (2nd title game,
4th Final Four)
Winning coachJoe B. Hall (1st title)
MOPJack Givens (Kentucky)
Top scorerMike Gminski Duke
(109 points)

The 1978 NCAA 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. Sixteen 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 eleven true at-large teams in the field, as the remaining five were conference winners with automatic bids and seeded The practice of distinguishing between automatic and at-large teams ended with this edition; the expanded field of forty in the 1979 tournament was simply seeded from one to ten in each of the four regions.

Led by head coach Joe B. Hall, Kentucky won its fifth national title with a 94-88 victory over Duke, coached by Bill Foster. Wildcat forward Jack Givens scored 41 points in the finale and was named the tournament's most outstanding player.[2][3][4][5]

The bracket's biggest upset came in the first round, when little-heralded Miami (Ohio) defeated defending champion Marquette 84-81 in overtime. The victory was even sweeter for Miami Redskins (now RedHawks) fans as former Marquette coach Al McGuire had earlier strongly criticized the NCAA for potentially matching Marquette against Kentucky in the second round, with Marquette being given a first-round opponent in Miami that was supposedly not even worthy of providing an adequate tune-up game.

Unranked Cal State Fullerton (CSUF) pulled off two upsets, first over 4th ranked New Mexico (coached by Norm Ellenberger and led by Michael Cooper) and then over top-10 San Francisco (featuring Bill Cartwright). The loss was especially painful for New Mexico as the regional semifinals and finals were held on the Lobos' home court in Albuquerque. CSUF then almost upset Arkansas in the West Regional final, losing by 3 points. In each of the three games, the Titans overcame second-half double-digit deficits. In the Arkansas game, they cut a big deficit to 1 and had the ball with 14 seconds left. But Arkansas' Jim Counce stole the ball from Keith Anderson (many observers felt Anderson was fouled) and drove down to hit a clinching layup.

In the Mideast regional final, Kentucky knocked off top-seeded Michigan State, led by freshman Earvin "Magic" Johnson. This was the only time in a 4-year period (that included his senior year in high school, 2 years of college, and his rookie NBA season) that Magic's team did not win its final game of the playoffs and hence the championship.

The Final Four games (semifinals, third-place, and championship) at St. Louis Arena (a.k.a. The Checkerdome) were not played on the arena's official floor. Water damage to it forced the NCAA to borrow the floor from Indiana University's Assembly Hall in Bloomington.

This was the fourth and last year for a 32-team bracket; the field expanded to forty teams in 1979 and 48 in 1980, all seeded. The 64-team field debuted in 1985, eliminating byes for the top seeds (1979-1984). The third-place game at the Final Four was last played in 1981.


1978 NCAA Division I Basketball Tournament is located in the United States
1978 sites for first round games
1978 NCAA Division I Basketball Tournament is located in the United States
St. Louis
St. Louis
1978 Regionals (blue) and Final Four (red)

For the second time in six years, St. Louis was chosen as the host city for the Final Four, the eighth city to host multiple times. There were no new host cities for the first time since 1950, but one new venue, Market Square Arena, marking the first time since 1940 that the tournament returned to Indianapolis, now a common site of Final Fours. The tournament did mark the last time it would be held at McArthur Court, as it has not returned to Eugene since. It was also the last time the regionals would be held in historic Allen Fieldhouse, something it did eight times.


Region Seed Team Coach Finished Final Opponent Score
East 1Q Duke Bill E. Foster Runner Up Kentucky L 94-88
East 3Q Furman Joe Williams Round of 32 Indiana L 63-62
East 1L Indiana Bob Knight Sweet Sixteen Villanova L 61-60
East 4L La Salle Paul Westhead Round of 32 Villanova L 103-97
East 4Q Penn Bob Weinhauer Sweet Sixteen Duke L 84-80
East 3L Rhode Island Jack Kraft Round of 32 Duke L 63-62
East 2L St. Bonaventure Jim Satalin Round of 32 Penn L 92-83
East 2Q Villanova Rollie Massimino Regional Runner-up Duke L 90-72
Mideast 4L Florida State Hugh Durham Round of 32 Kentucky L 85-76
Mideast 2Q Kentucky Joe B. Hall Champion Duke W 94-88
Mideast 1L Marquette Hank Raymonds Round of 32 Miami (OH) L 84-81
Mideast 3Q Miami (OH) Darrell Hedric Sweet Sixteen Kentucky L 91-69
Mideast 1Q Michigan State Jud Heathcote Regional Runner-up Kentucky L 52-49
Mideast 3L Providence Dave Gavitt Round of 32 Michigan State L 77-63
Mideast 2L Syracuse Jim Boeheim Round of 32 Western Kentucky L 87-86
Mideast 4Q Western Kentucky Jim Richards Sweet Sixteen Michigan State L 90-69
Midwest 3Q Creighton Tom Apke Round of 32 DePaul L 80-78
Midwest 1L DePaul Ray Meyer Regional Runner-up Notre Dame L 84-64
Midwest 4Q Houston Guy Lewis Round of 32 Notre Dame L 100-77
Midwest 2Q Louisville Denny Crum Sweet Sixteen DePaul L 90-89
Midwest 1Q Missouri Norm Stewart Round of 32 Utah L 86-79
Midwest 2L Notre Dame Digger Phelps Fourth Place Arkansas L 71-69
Midwest 4L St. John's Lou Carnesecca Round of 32 Louisville L 76-68
Midwest 3L Utah Jerry Pimm Sweet Sixteen Notre Dame L 69-56
West 2L Arkansas Eddie Sutton Third Place Notre Dame W 71-69
West 4L Cal State Fullerton Bobby Dye Regional Runner-up Arkansas L 61-58
West 3L Kansas Ted Owens Round of 32 UCLA L 83-76
West 2Q New Mexico Norm Ellenberger Round of 32 Cal State Fullerton L 90-85
West 1L North Carolina Dean Smith Round of 32 San Francisco L 68-64
West 3Q San Francisco Bob Gaillard Sweet Sixteen Cal State Fullerton L 75-72
West 1Q UCLA Gary Cunningham Sweet Sixteen Arkansas L 74-70
West 4Q Weber State Neil McCarthy Round of 32 Arkansas L 73-52


* - Denotes overtime period

East region

Quarterfinals Semifinals Finals
1Q Duke 63
3L Rhode Island 62
1Q Duke 84
4Q Penn 80
4Q Penn 92
2L St. Bonaventure 83
1Q Duke 90
2Q Villanova 72
1L Indiana 63
3Q Furman 62
1L Indiana 60
2Q Villanova 61
2Q Villanova 103
4L La Salle 97

Midwest region

Quarterfinals Semifinals Finals
3L Utah 86
1Q Missouri 79**
3L Utah 56
2L Notre Dame 69
2L Notre Dame 100
4Q Houston 77
2L Notre Dame 84
1L DePaul 64
1L DePaul 80
3Q Creighton 78
1L DePaul 90
2Q Louisville 89**
2Q Louisville 76
4L St. John's 68

Mideast region

Quarterfinals Semifinals Finals
1Q Michigan State 77
3L Providence 63
1Q Michigan State 90
4Q Western Kentucky 69
4Q Western Kentucky 87
2L Syracuse 86*
1Q Michigan State 49
2Q Kentucky 52
3Q Miami (OH) 84
1L Marquette 81*
3Q Miami (OH) 69
2Q Kentucky 91
2Q Kentucky 85
4L Florida State 76

West region

Quarterfinals Semifinals Finals
1Q UCLA 83
3L Kansas 76
1Q UCLA 70
2L Arkansas 74
2L Arkansas 73
4Q Weber State 52
2L Arkansas 61
4L Cal State Fullerton 58
3Q San Francisco 68
1L North Carolina 64
3Q San Francisco 72
4L Cal State Fullerton 75
4L Cal State Fullerton 90
2Q New Mexico 85

Final Four

  National Semifinals
Saturday, March 25
    National Championship Game
Monday, March 27
  E1Q Duke 90  
  MW2L Notre Dame 86    
      E1Q Duke 88
      ME2Q Kentucky 94
  ME2Q Kentucky 64    
  W2L Arkansas 59   National Third Place Game
MW2L Notre Dame 69
  W2L Arkansas 71

Q = automatic qualifier bid L = at-large bid (including 5 automatic bids seeded with at-large teams)

Game summaries

Final Four

March 25
Arkansas 59, Kentucky 64
Scoring by half: 30-32, 29-32
Pts: Brewer 16
Rebs: Delph 8
Asts: Counce 2
Pts: Givens 23
Rebs: Givens 9
Asts: Shidler 4

Attendance: 18,721
March 25
Duke 90, Notre Dame 86
Scoring by half: 43-29, 47-57
Pts: Gminski 29
Rebs: Banks 12
Asts: Spanarkel/Bender 5
Pts: Williams 16
Rebs: Laimbeer 10
Asts: Branning 5

Attendance: 18,721


March 27
Duke 88, Kentucky 94
Scoring by half: 38-45, 50-49
Pts: Banks 22
Rebs: Gminski 12
Pts: Givens 41
Rebs: Robey 11

Attendance: 18,721


See also


  1. ^ Washington Post - March 6, 1978
  2. ^ "Kentucky finally gets to celebrate". Deseret News. (Salt Lake City, Utah). UPI. March 28, 1978. p. 4B.
  3. ^ "Kentucky can finally celebrate". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). wire services. March 28, 1978. p. 1C.
  4. ^ Keith, Larry (April 3, 1978). "The Cats go wild". Sports Illustrated. p. 18.
  5. ^ "Givens heads team". Kentucky New Era. (Hopkinsville). Associated Press. March 28, 1978. p. 12.

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