Gonzaga and Baylor were among the top teams in men’s college basketball all season long and the two schools will get to battle it out in the national championship on Monday night.
It’s a matchup months in the making. Gonzaga and Baylor were supposed to do battle on Dec. 5 when the Bulldogs were No. 1 and the Bears were No. 2. But Baylor had some coronavirus issues at the start of the season forcing them to cancel some games and later postpone others. Those issues are far behind Baylor and they will finally get a chance to take down the No. 1 team in the nation.
Gonzaga is looking to make history.
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The Bulldogs can be the first Division I men’s basketball team to finish a season undefeated since Indiana went 32-0 with a national championship in 1975-76. Indiana State in 1979, UNLV in 1991, Wichita State in 2014 and Kentucky in 2015 entered previous tournaments undefeated only to drop a game in the postseason.
Gonzaga could also be the first non-Power Conference school to win a national championship since UNLV won the title in 1990. The Runnin’ Rebels were in the Big West Conference at the time. Gonzaga is a member of the West Coast Conference.
Baylor has been known more for its women’s basketball program than it’s men’s basketball program. The school has never won a men’s basketball title. The team was in the championship in 1948 but lost to Kentucky in the game. They hadn’t been back since.
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The Bears have had a solid run recently and the 2020-21 season was their best season in a while. Baylor was 27-2 overall and 13-1 in the Big 12 Conference and now have a chance to end their championshipless streak.
Baylor beat Hartford, Wisconsin, Villanova, Arkansas and Houston to get to the finals. MaCio Teague and Jared Butler have been the top players on the team.
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Gonzaga beat Norfolk State, Oklahoma, Creighton, USC and UCLA to get to the final. Their Final Four matchup against Bruins has been regarded as one of the top tournament games in recent memory. Drew Timme has been great for the Bulldogs in the last few games. Jalen Suggs hit the game-winner against the Bruins.
Tip-off is set for 9:20 p.m. ET at Lucas Oil Stadium. The game can be watched on CBS.