INDIANPOLIS – It all comes down to this.
Gonzaga and Baylor have been considered the top two teams in college basketball for most of the season. A year after the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the NCAA Tournament, the nation will get what it wanted for more than a year on Monday night on CBS.
Zags. Bears. A combined 59-2 record between them.
Here’s how we got there after Saturday’s Final Four:
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – The Jalen Suggs shot, perfect!
Gonzaga’s freshman took advantage of a shot at the bell from inside the midfield logo Saturday night to lead the Zags to a 93-90 overtime win over UCLA and move them to an undefeated season win. and a national title.
It was the best game of the tournament and, considering the stakes, perhaps the best result in March Madness history: a banker from near the middle of the court to keep a perfect season alive.
THAT. ONLY. IT HAPPENED.
GONZAGA REMAINS INDEPENDENT ON THE BUZZER! pic.twitter.com/27I8a2A9DA
– CBS Sports (@CBSSports) April 4, 2021
After the shot went in, Suggs ran to the nearly empty press row, leaped to his feet, and shook his fists several times. The referees checked to make sure he fired before the bell rang. He did, and the Bulldogs made it to the final on Monday night, where they will play Baylor for the title.
They are the first team to bring an undefeated record to the championship game since Larry Bird and Indiana State in 1979.
For more information on the Zags’ overtime win over the Bruins, click here.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Nearly two decades ago, Scott Drew decided to leave his comfort zone in tiny Valparaiso for the scandal-plagued basketball program at Baylor, explaining to his father that the Bears couldn’t go anywhere else than do not go up.
Now, they are one victory away from the top.
Led by Jared Butler and the rest of his brilliant backcourt, a defense that refused to give Houston an inch, and a coach intent on making the most of his first trip to the Final Four, the Bears posted a 78-59 victory. Saturday night in his first appearance in the NCAA Tournament semifinals in 71 long years.
“Every day you’re struggling, and you don’t really look back. You’re pushing forward,” Drew said afterward, “but I’m so blessed to have these amazing players who bought what we like to do with the show.”
Or, as Butler put it, “This is what we came to Baylor to do.”
Read more about the Bears’ dominant victory here.