(See Tuesday’s Part One to learn how we got here.)
At the end of the 1969-70 season, Marquette coach Al McGuire turned down the team’s invitation to the NCAA Tournament, protesting the selection committee’s choice to send the Warriors to the Midwest regional in Fort Worth, rather than the Mideast bracket in nearby Columbus and Dayton. They’d go on to win the NIT, and the season would be the only break in an otherwise uninterrupted 13-year stretch in the Big Dance.
As a result, Marquette came into the 1977 NCAA Tournament as a known quantity — the elite but title-less team, trying to win one for their retiring coach. On the other hand, the UNC-Charlotte 49ers were something of a wild card. To introduce the nation to the team and the school, ABC News put together a delightful on-location feature.