The highly anticipated non-conference matchup that was canceled will be renewed on the biggest stage in college basketball. Gonzaga is a 4.5-point favorite.
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What to know for Gonzaga's game against Baylor in the national championship
INDIANAPOLIS — It’s about time for the biggest game in Gonzaga men’s basketball history.
The Bulldogs will play Baylor in the national championship of the NCAA Tournament on Monday.
Gonzaga is riding high following the most iconic shot in program history when Jalen Suggs hit a near half-court shot to give the Zags a 93-90 win in overtime in the Final Four against No. 11 UCLA.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
Gonzaga is one win away from its first national title in program history.
The Bulldogs have reached their second championship game in the past five NCAA Tournaments. They are one of just three programs to do that. North Carolina and Villanova also have and won national titles in that span.
The Zags are trying to become the first undefeated national champion since 1976, when Indiana did it.
Baylor is in their first national title game since 1948. The Bears have also never been crowned champions.
WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR
Gonzaga’s Drew Timme continues to produce great performances in the NCAA Tournament. He is averaging 22 points per game. According to ESPN Stats and Information, Timme has scored 82 points in the paint so far in the NCAA Tournament, which is the most by a player since 2010.
According to KenPom, Gonzaga has the highest offensive efficiency and Baylor ranks second.
Gonzaga has scored less than 80 points in only three of their 31 games this season.
Baylor has proven in this tournament in multiple games they can shut teams down offensively with their defense. One player to watch out for on their team is Davion Mitchell, who has the nickname “Off Night”. He has that nickname because he often takes players off their game offensively.
Mitchell will likely guard Gonzaga’s Jalen Suggs in multiple stints.
Baylor also shoots 41.2 percent from three-point range, which is the highest in the country.
DID YOU KNOW?
Gonzaga and Baylor were scheduled to play in the non-conference this schedule on Dec. 5. It was the most anticipated game to many in the non-conference slate as it was going to be a matchup between the top two teams in the country. It was canceled due to coronavirus cases on the Gonzaga men’s basketball team.
Baylor head coach Scott Drew said in a press conference on Sunday that him and Gonzaga head coach Mark Few thought it would be cool if they ended up playing in the national championship after that game was canceled. Here we are.
Gonzaga and Baylor have played five times before. The Zags have won all five times.
The last time the two teams met was in the second round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament. Gonzaga won 83-71. Brandon Clarke had 36 points, eight rebounds and five blocks.
WHO IS FAVORED TO WIN?
Gonzaga is a 4.5-point favorite in the national championship.
Gonzaga and Baylor will play on Monday, April 5 at 6:20 p.m. That game will be televised on KREM.
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