Friday, March 28, 2014

Marquette Golden Eagles Win The NCAA Championship

On March 28, 1977, the Marquette Golden Eagles won the NCAA Men’s Division I Tournament.  They would defeat Dean Smith’s North Carolina Tar Heels by a score of 67-59 in the finals, which was held in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Marquette Golden Eagles head coach Al McGuire (left) with NCAA Men's Player of the Year Butch Lee (right).
The win gave the Golden Eagles their first ever men’s basketball title, and till this day it remains their only championship.  At the time, the tournament consisted of only 32 teams.  Marquette began the tournament in the Midwest Region and beat out Cincinnati, Kansas State and Wake Forest on their way to the Final Four.  They would then beat Charlotte in their semi-final match-up to earn a date with UNC in the finals.  Their point guard, Butch Lee, would be named the tournament’s MVP.
The 1977 NCAA Men's Basketball Champions, the Marquette Golden Eagles.

The NCAA Tournament Championship for the Marquette Golden Eagles was the schools only NCAA Tournament Championship. Although the school also has one tournament runner up in 1974.
The Golden Eagles reached the Final Four three times including 1974, 1977 and most recently 2003. They have reached the Elite Eight a total of six times, including back-to-back appearances in 1976 and 1977. The Golden Eagles reached the Sweet 16 a total of 16 times, including four straight appearances from 1971-1974, and are currently on a three-year streak with appearances in the Sweet 16 from 2011-2013. The Golden Eagles have reached NCAA Tournament play 31 times, including 10 consecutive trips from 1971-1980 and are currently on their second longest streak of eight consecutive appearances make the NCAA Tournament every year from 2006-2013.
The Golden Eagles have appeared in 30 NCAA Tournaments. Their combined tournament record is 38–31.
Marquette is the only university to spurn an NCAA invite and did so due to an unjustified low seeding and having to travel. They were ranked 8th in the country at the time and were one of the favorites to win the NCAA championship. They were invited to the NIT, which they won. Then NCAA was so incensed at being spurn by Marquette that they instituted an NCAA rule which forbid an NCAA Division I level men's basketball team from spurning an NCAA bid for an 1970 National Invitation Tournament bid. An antitrust case by the NIT ensued over this issue, and the NCAA caved and settled out of court. The basis of the case was an antitrust issue against the NCAA for forcing an NCAA Division I men's basketball team to accept an NCAA bid over a better NIT bid (home court advantage, opportunity to play more games, and finally an opportunity to win a National Invitation Tournament Championship.