The 1976 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 13, 1976, and ended with the championship game on March 29 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A total of 32 games were played, including a national third place game.
Indiana, coached by Bob Knight, won the national title with an 86�68 victory in the final game over Michigan, coached by Johnny Orr. Kent Benson of Indiana was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.
Notably, this was the first time that two teams from the same conference (the Big Ten) played in the title game. (Additionally, in July 2014 the Big Ten will be able to claim 3 of the 4 1976 Final Four participants as Rutgers will join the conference.) Also, this was the last men’s Division I tournament to date to feature two unbeaten teams, as both Indiana and Rutgers entered the tournament unbeaten. To date, Indiana is the last team to go the entire season undefeated. Both advanced to the Final Four, with Indiana winning the title and Rutgers losing to Michigan in the semifinals and UCLA in the third-place game. The title game fell on the day of the 48th Academy Awards; word of the Hoosiers’ victory reached the Academy Awards audience just as the award for Best Film Editing was about to be presented.