With the 2021 NCAA men’s basketball championship On the line, two # 1 seeds fight in Indianapolis. One looks for the immortality that is coming with an unbeaten season. The other stands in the way of this dream as he writes his own story.
Gonzaga (31-0) against Baylor (27-2) has all the requirements for a national championship classic for men.
It is the first time since North Carolina took on Illinois in 2005 that the top two seeds meet in the 68 field in the championship. And with all the upsets in the NCAA men’s tournament 2021It almost feels like this matchup should be.
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Timme picks up the fourth foul
Drew Timme goes to the Gonzaga bench with four fouls, just like Baylor’s big men also had bad problems and sat down.
Baylor opened his biggest lead of the game at 73-53 with almost 10 minutes left
Baylor opens up another big head start
Gonzaga cut the lead to single digits for the first time since the beginning of the first half, but the momentum didn’t last long. Baylor turned his transition game up again and took a 16-point lead by less than 13 minutes.
Baylor Bigs in dire trouble
With Flo Thamba and Jonathan Tchama Tchatchoua, both with four fouls, Gonzaga will have the chance to take advantage of the bears in the deep. Expect Drew Timme (four turnovers) to get touches every time you own it. On the other side of the court, they need defensive stops to end a comeback.
Corey Kispert’s shoulder injury
American striker Corey Kispert asked Bulldogs trainer Mark Few to rest and have his left shoulder checked after attempting to defend Flo Thamba, who caught his fourth foul by just under 17 minutes.
Important mid-term stats
3 point shooting: Baylor 7-for-12, Gonzaga 1-for-6
Free throws: Gonzaga 12-for-13, Baylor 2-for-2
Field goals: Baylor 19-for-38, Gonzaga 2-for-22
Helps: Baylor 12, Gonzaga 9
Offensive rebounds: Baylor 9, Gonzaga 3
Baylor 47, Gonzaga 37 at halftime
Because of this, Gonzaga is # 1 overall seed. It felt like Baylor led the Bulldogs out of the gym, but they used a 9-2 run in the final minutes of the first half to bring the deficit down to 10 points by half.
Gonzaga prevailed against Baylor in the color 34-24.
Baylor bad problems
With all the talk that Jalen Suggs committed two quick fouls, Baylor isn’t in an exactly clean position either. Jonathan Tchama Tchatchoua (3), Flo Thamba (2), Jared Butler (2) and Mark Vital (2) were whistled several times in the first 20 minutes.
Gonzaga goes zone
Gonzaga’s trainer Mark Few is now making his boys play in a 1-3-1 zone to knock the bears out of the game. Baylor responded by finding players in the high post and knocking down midfielders. We shall see if few have any other answer.
Gonzaga hangs around at under 4
Although Baylor has basically twice as many shot attempts, Gonzaga has stayed and cut the lead for 12 after the deficit hit 19 at one point. Drew Timme leads the Bulldogs with eight points, and all starters now have a field goal.
Zags needs Suggs to stay in the game
Jalen Suggs – the star of the Zags win over UCLA with an epic summer beater – has taken two early fouls when Gonzaga wasn’t feeling up.
Coach Mark Few had to get his Star Point Guard back in the game and urge him to play smart because without him this game will be over – really over. It already looks like Davion Mitchell and Jared Butler shoot out the lights and the bears stifling defense makes them look like the clear favorite over an undefeated squad.
Suggs makes up to three turnovers, so he needs to be more careful if few people want to keep him out.
– Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY basketball reporter at Sports College
Bulldogs look tired?
One has to wonder how tired the Bulldogs are after their overtime win over UCLA barely 48 hours ago. All five Gonzaga starters played for more than 37 minutes, three players (Kispert, Nembhard and Ayayi) played for at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, Baylor – who got past Houston in the semifinals – looks fresh, especially Jared Butler, who has 10 points and has fired all four of his shots.
The bears started a perfect 5-on-5 (butler with two) from 3-point range.
Baylor keeps Gonzaga under 12
There’s still a lot of play left, but a 15-point (23-8) lead in eight minutes is a situation Baylor would certainly have signed up for before the tip.
Gonzaga has five sales so far. Baylor has already had 17 shot attempts, compared to Gonzaga’s seven.
Gonzaga fights early
The bad news? It took Gonzaga four minutes and 35 seconds to score his first field goal, a 3-pointer from All-American Corey Kispert.
The worse news for her? That is still the Bulldogs’ only field goal, and they follow 16-4.
That’s because guards Jared Butler and Davion Mitchell start fast (seven points apiece), which is a bad sign for Gonzaga when Jalen Suggs is on the bench with two early fouls.
Baylor breaks out to lead
What a start for the bears. With intensity on the defensive (two Gonzaga turnovers) and aggressiveness on the offensive (four offensive rebounds), the bears scored the first nine points of the game. With 9-0, the Bulldogs had to struggle with their biggest deficit of the tournament early on.
Jalen Suggs recorded his second foul three minutes and four seconds into the game.
Indianapolis frontline workers sing national anthem
A successful anthem by frontline workers (police officers, firefighters, etc.) from the region. Jim Nantz is in the PA system announcing the starting grid. It’s almost game time.
Baylor tries to make Texas history
The last Texas men’s basketball team to win the NCAA Championship was the 1966 historic Texas Western (now University of Texas-El Paso) roster, known as the first all-black starter to win five.
Gonzaga: G Jalen Suggs, G Andrew Nembhard, G Joel Ayayi, F Corey Kispert, F Drew Timme
Servant: G Jared Butler, G Davion Mitchell, G MaCio Teague, F Mark Vital, F Flo Thamba
The referees: Bo Boroski, Keith Kimble and Randy McCall. It’s McCall’s second title game and the first for Boroski and Kimble.
Half of the Lucas Oil Stadium is in use
With social distancing rules in place in the stands at Lucas Oil Stadium, it would have been an empty scene if the entire stadium had been lit, as was the case with previous final fours at the venue.
Instead, the NCAA cut off almost half of the stadium to create a cozier environment. Here is a bird’s eye view.
No. 1 Gonzaga versus No. 1 Baylor
Time: 9:20 pm Place: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis.
Announcer: Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery, Grant Hill and Tracy Wolfson.
How to stream: March Madness Live, fuboTV, Paramount +.
Opportunities: Gonzaga -4.5; over / under: 159.5