The 1977 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament involved 32 American schools playing in single-elimination play to determine the National Champion of Men's NCAADivision Icollege basketball. It began on March 12, 1977, and ended with the championship game on March 28 in Atlanta, Georgia. A total of 32 games were played, including a national third place game. This was the final tournament in which teams were not seeded. Marquette, coached by Al McGuire, won the national title with a 67?59 victory in the final game over North Carolina, coached by Dean Smith. Butch Lee of Marquette was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. Publicly announcing his retirement during the middle of the season, McGuire retired as head coach immediately after the game. UNLV and Charlotte (at that time known by a longer abbreviation of its full name, UNC Charlotte) were third and fourth place, respectively.
It seems like every year there is that one team in the NCAA tournament that surprises the entire nation. A team that not only flies under the radar as an underdog throughout the tournament, but potentially has what it takes to make it to the Final Four.
Even though five potential Cinderella teams still remain this year, that team could very easily be the Marquette Golden Eagles.
Entering the tournament as an No. 11 seed, Marquette (22-14) has proven in their first two games why they still are legitimate contenders to advance even further in many brackets. Led by junior guard Darius Johnson-Odom, the Golden Eagles have to be very happy with making it to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2003?but the road to the big dance may have only just begun.
In order to advance to the Elite Eight, Marquette will need to first take on No. 2 seeded North Carolina, who have made several Final Four appearances over the past decade. Don't be too quick to already start filling in "Tar Heels" on your brackets though, as the Golden Eagles still pose a big threat to UNC and their hopes for a Final Four appearance once again.
What makes Marquette even more of a threat at this stage of the tournament is their experience. While none of the players on the current roster have any previous tournament experience, they have faced a heavy chunk of top seeded teams recently.
Not only did Marquette play 10 games against tournament teams seeded in the top five during the regular season, but beat some of them as well.
Playing for the first time since the 1977 NCAA Championship, the No. 11 Marquette Golden Eagles will look to upset the No. 2-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels in the first game of the Sweet 16 at 7 p.m.
Will we see another upset for the second straight night?
The Tar Heels come into the matchup as six-point favorites against a surging, underrated Marquette team.
There are certain keys for both teams and players who will need to step up if they want to make the Elite Eight.
Whether or not Marquette can take down a tough Tar Heel team remains to be seen, but don't count them out just yet.