Gonzaga and Baylor have been the two best teams in men’s college basketball all season. The Bulldogs and Bears were supposed to play on Dec. 5, but the game was canceled due to Covid. On Monday night, they will square off in the championship game of the 2021 NCAA tournament.
Gonzaga is trying to become the first men’s college basketball team to end the season as an undefeated national champion since the Indiana Hoosiers did it in 1976. The Bulldogs needed a near halfcourt buzzer-beater from freshman star Jalen Suggs to beat UCLA in overtime two days earlier. Before they were pushed to the brink by the Bruins, the Zags had been rolling through the bracket with an average margin of victory of nearly 24 points per game.
The Zags have three AP All-Americans with Suggs in the backcourt, Corey Kispert on the wing, and Drew Timme at center. Redshirt junior guard Joel Ayayi, a 6’5 ball handler out of France, was also named an honor mention as an All-American. Gonzaga may play in a small conference, but their success is no fluke. This is the most loaded roster in the country, and deserves to go down as one of the best college basketball teams of the last 30 years should they beat Baylor in the title game.
Baylor threatened to go undefeated itself by starting the season 18-0 before pausing for Covid for three weeks. The Bears would eventually drop two games, but they have looked back to being a force of nature in the tournament. Scott Drew’s team blew out Houston in the Final Four, and has been winning comfortably throughout this tournament run.
The Bears have multiple All-Americans themselves with Jared Butler and Davion Mitchell making the teams while MaCio Teague was named an honorable mention. The three guards have been the foundation of Baylor’s success all year, and gives them a legitimate chance to knock off a powerful Gonzaga squad on the brink of history.
We’re going to be live blogging the national championship game all night long. This should be an amazing game.