No. 1 Baylor (27-2) and No. 1 Gonzaga (31-0) punched their tickets to the NCAA National Championship game on Saturday. A match up scheduled for Monday night was originally slated in December, but was scrapped due to positive COVID-19 tests within both programs.
The top overall seed Gonzaga is seeking to become the first undefeated men’s champion since the Indiana Hoosiers accomplished the feat in 1976. The Bulldogs defeated No. 11 UCLA Bruins 93-90 in overtime thanks to a Jalen Suggs buzzer-beating three-pointer from near midcourt with 0.3 seconds left. Just seconds after UCLA had tied the game at 90.
Earlier on Saturday, an all-Texas match up between Baylor and No. 2 Houston was over before it started. The Bears ran away from the Cougars early, taking a commanding 45-20 lead into halftime. They would eventually cruise to a 78-59 win, advancing to their first title game appearance in 73 years.
A rare meeting for both Gonzaga and Baylor at Lucas Oil Stadium for the “Monday Night.” feature. Not only can Gonzaga make history if they can remain undefeated, but this is just the ninth time two No. 1 seeds have squared off since the adoption of the NCAA Tournament under its current format.
It’s perhaps the single-best national title game on paper in NCAA history.
Gonzaga and Baylor dominated the regular season on the way to their respective conference tournaments and into the big dance. Both schools were atop the Associated Press poll together for most of the season. Overall, they were ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in 15 of the 17 AP polls. No two teams have been ranked that high consistently throughout a season and met in a title game before. Also, Monday night’s game between Gonzaga and Baylor will give either program their first national championship.
Baylor hadn’t been to the Final Four since 1950. Gonzaga’s lone title game appearance came back in 2017 and the school didn’t appear in the NCAA tournament for the first time until 1995.
The NCAA Championship game between No. 1 Gonzaga and No. 1 Baylor is scheduled for Monday, April 5 at 9:20 p.m. ET on CBS.