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Gonzaga’s Quest for Perfection Falls Short

Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. Baylor Bears - 2021 National Championship Game Odds and Picks

Rarely in sports do you find a truly great team like Gonzaga also able to wear the glass slipper of Cinderella. Yet somehow, the Bulldogs managed to be both the best team in the country all season long and the darlings of the college basketball world.

On Monday night, the happy ending was not written, and history was not made. Gonzaga didn’t finish the season as the top-ranked team from wire-to-wire or complete the undefeated championship season.

They were bested in every way by the Baylor Bears, who are deserving national champions after a dominating 86-70 win.

Gonzaga is now the third team in NCAA Tournament history to enter the championship game undefeated but leave the game as the tournament runner-up. Gonzaga joins the 1961 Ohio State Buckeyes and the 1979 Indiana State Sycamores — a championship game that featured Larry Bird losing to Magic Johnson — with that ignominious distinction.

Baylor Shines to Win First Title

Denying the Zags’ first-ever title, Baylor was able to win its first-ever men’s title. The Lady Bears basketball team has been one of the best in the country, with championships in 2005, 2012, and 2019.

Baylor was one of the best 3-point shooting teams all season long, and that is what powered its victory on Monday night. The Bears hit 10 3-point shots in the game, and four of those came in the first 10 minutes of the game, pacing their early lead.

Baylor finished the night with 18 more shot attempts than Gonzaga, and with a team that shoots as well as the Bears, that is nearly impossible to overcome.

For Baylor, it was ultimately about patience. Patience in finding good shots in the win over Gonzaga, and patience with head coach Scott Drew. He was hired by the university in 2003, and while the success didn’t come as quickly as many hoped, this year, it came in the biggest way possible.

Gonzaga Early 2022 NCAA Tournament Favorites

Gonzaga finishes the 2020-21 season at 31-1. But that one is going to hurt for quite a while.
At least for a year until they get a chance to redeem that loss next March, which sportsbooks think will happen. The Bulldogs are the early betting favorite to win the 2022 national championship at +900 at March Madness betting sites.

Much of Gonzaga’s team is still up in the air, though, with phenomenal freshman Jalen Suggs expected to declare for the NBA Draft. He scored 22 points in the title game and averaged more than 14 points per game on the season.

Senior Corey Kispert is also expected to be a first-round pick in the upcoming NBA Draft.

Baylor is the second betting favorite to win in 2022 at +850 at BetUS Sportsbook, but it too is losing a pair of players to the NBA’s first round. NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player Jared Butler is projected to go toward the back half of the first round. Butler is a great scorer but lacks the athleticism to go higher in the draft.

Bears point guard Davion Mitchell is also a projected first-rounder, and some scouts think he could be a lottery pick because of the great defense he brings to the point.