The field began with 68 title-hungry teams, and now after all the smoke has cleared, we are down to the final two. On the heels of one of the most interesting NCAA Tournaments in modern history, the two teams that began the season at No. 1 and No. 2 — Gonzaga and Baylor — will meet for the national title on Monday night in Indianapolis. The Bears cruised in their Final Four matchup with Houston while the Bulldogs needed overtime and a halfcourt heave from freshman Jalen Suggs to get by No. 11 seed UCLA.
Both teams have played in one title game previously and came up short. The Zags fell to North Carolina in 2017 when they carried a similar record into the title game. The Bears only appearance came way back in 1948 when they fell to Kentucky. Reminder: the tournament field some 70 years ago? Just eight teams. Now, Scott Drew was tasked with guiding Baylor through a field of 68!
Gary Parrish and Matt Norlander set the stage with storylines and their picks for Gonzaga-Baylor. Listen below:
Our team of writers has sized up the matchups and come up with picks both straight up and against the spread for the national championship game. You can find all our records for the tournament picking games by clicking here. Odds via William Hill Sportsbook
Who will win and cover every game, and which teams should be on upset alert? Visit SportsLine now to see which team to back in every matchup, all from the model that’s up $2,600 for $100 players.
(1) Gonzaga vs. (1) Baylor
Time: 9:20 p.m. ET | Location: Lucas Oil Stadium
TV: CBS | Live stream: March Madness Live
The Baylor we have seen this tournament is the midseason Baylor that was destroying every team in its path. That was the Baylor team that led all of college basketball for most of the season in scoring margin, ahead of Gonzaga. But I can’t pick against the Zags — not straight up and not even against the number. This has felt like a team of destiny for awhile, and Suggs’ 3-point bank shot at the buzzer in OT vs. UCLA only validated that for me. Baylor will have its runs, and this will be a real back-and-forth chess match, but I’m taking the best 2-point shooting team in decades to edge the best 3-point shooting team in the country. Prediction: Gonzaga 82, Baylor 77 — Boone
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