The conclusion to the 2021 NCAA Tournament is shaping up to be the best possible matchup anyone could have desired with No. 1 seeds Gonzaga and Baylor arriving on the collision course for college basketball supremacy in this one-of-a-kind season. Gonzaga, just one win away from becoming the first team since Indiana in 1976 to be an undefeated national champion, has opened as a clear favorite over Baylor in Monday night's national championship game.
Gonzaga is listed as a 4.5-point favorite, according to William Hill Sportsbook, after failing to cover the spread for the first time in the NCAA Tournament against UCLA on Saturday night (4-1 ATS). However, that buzzer-beater in overtime by Jalen Suggs for the win was enough to keep its national title hopes alive.
While Suggs was burying No. 11 seed UCLA with blocks on defense and near-halfcourt heaves at the horn, Baylor rolled No. 2 seed Houston in its semifinal matchup. The Bears -- coming off wins against Wisconsin, Villanova and Arkansas -- had another level that the Cougars were just not ready to compete against as Scott Drew's team cruised to a 78-59 win.
All season, Gonzaga and Baylor have remained as the constants in the elite tier of college basketball, so it's a rare treat that the two will meet on the last night of the season for the national championship. Both teams will be looking to win their school's first men's basketball championship with each only having one runner-up finish in program history, Baylor's in 1948 with Bill Henderson and Gonzaga in 2017 with Mark Few in a loss to North Carolina.