As Baylor readies to take on Gonzaga in Monday’s NCAA Men’s Championship, here are a few nuggets for you to ready yourself for the big game.
1. No matter what happens tonight, there will be a first-time men’s basketball national champion after Monday night.
Neither Baylor nor Gonzaga have ever won the national championship for men’s basketball. The Bears last reached the championship game in 1948. The last time they reached the Final Four was 1950. They came away from both years without the championship prize. Gonzaga reached the title game in 2017 but lost out to North Carolina in that season. Both schools will look to make history on Monday night. On a side note, Baylor has won three national titles for women’s basketball, but this would be the first for men’s hoops if Baylor gets it done on Monday.
2. Baylor and Gonzaga were originally scheduled to play each other earlier this season in December, but that game was canceled.
This championship game could have been a sequel. It could have been a rematch. We could have had an idea of what to expect. But their previously scheduled game on December 5 was canceled due to positive COVID-19 tests. That game was not re-scheduled until fate intervened for this NCAA Championship matchup.
3. It is not out of bounds to say this may be the best on-paper matchup in recent NCAA Championship history.
Gonzaga hasn’t lost this season. They’re 31-0. Baylor has only lost two games all year. They’re 27-2. These two teams have been ranked one and two, next to each other, in 15 of the 17 AP polls this season. No two teams meeting up in the men’s basketball title game have ever spent that much time next to each other atop the polls in a single year. And these two teams have been building up for Monday’s climactic moment before this year. The two programs are a combined 115-8 over the last two seasons. In other words, both teams are excellent and have been excellent before this season.
4. Gonzaga isn’t just seeking history with winning its first men’s basketball national championship. There’s the quest for a perfect season.