Baylor Wins First National Men’s Basketball Championship

Jhett Garrett, Editor

After an unbelievable March Madness tournament, what better way to wrap it up than watch the two best teams in the nation go at it? We got that opportunity this year, and after all of the upsets, we somehow managed to finish with two one seeds in the National Championship game. Baylor and Gonzaga, the top two teams in the country were set to take on each other to determine who the best team in college basketball is. The question is how did both teams get here? 


Baylor finished the season as the number 3 seed in college basketball, and were graced with a number one seed. And after playing a 16 seed in the Round of 64, it got really tough really quick. The Bears had to beat Wisconsin, Villanova, Arkansas, and Houston just to have a chance at the perfect Gonzaga Bulldogs. 


Gonzaga, who was the number 1 team overall in the nation, had a slightly easier path to the natty than their counterpart. They took on a 16 seed right out of the gate, and played a struggling Oklahoma team, an overrated Creighton team, a hot USC team, and a hot UCLA team, which was highlighted by an insane buzzer beater from star freshman Jalen Suggs. 


The Bulldogs were looking to be the first undefeated national champions since our own Indiana Hoosiers did so in 1976, and the Bears were looking to win their first national championship ever. We were expecting an impressive offensive showing from both sides, and right off the bat we got that from Baylor, however the Zags struggled. Those struggles carried throughout the rest of the game, and they couldn’t ever recover from the big deficit early on. 


Baylor won the game by a score of 86-70, behind their big 3 of Jared Butler, Davion Mitchell, and Macio Teague, who combined for a total of 56 points. Butler led the way with 22 points, and Davion Mitchell, who has since declared for the NBA Draft, scored 15. Macio Teague tallied 19 in the game, and shot 2-3 from beyond the ark. 


Outside of Jalen Suggs, who scored 22, the Zags didn’t have a whole lot of offensive production, which is very rare. They averaged 91 points per game during the regular season, and barely hit the 70 point mark. Drew Timme, and Corey Kispart both scored 12 in the ballgame. 


Baylor dominated the game in every category possible, however in the new “Way-too-Early” Top 25 done by ESPN, the Bears were disrespected with a number 7 ranking, which surprises me as they have one of the top recruiting classes coming in, and a great head coach in Scott Drew at the helm. That is a bad spot for them, and that number will get better as time goes on. The runner-up Gonzaga Bulldogs were treated with the number 1 spot.