Last Monday, April 5, the world watched and waited for the Gonzaga University Bulldogs to finish its unbeaten run, and silence non-believers with a National Collegiate Athletic Association championship. Not only did they not complete this “fairytale” run, but, to everyone’s surprise the game wasn’t even close. The Baylor University Bears defeated the Gonzaga University Bulldogs 86 – 70.
From the first possession of the game, the Baylor University Bears seemed to have complete control of the game. I knew it was over, once guard Davion Mitchell crossed his defender and hit an effortless jumpshot for the first points of the game.
From there, Baylor dominated the first half, beating the Zags in every aspect of the game, and used physicality matched with intensity to fluster the number one seed. The Bears had the lead up to 19 at one point, which was the biggest deficit Gonzaga has faced all year.
This Bulldog team was not accustomed to playing behind, once Baylor asserted their presence, not even Drew Timme and his mustache could stop them.
This was also credited to senior forward Mark Vital, who is the heart and soul of the Baylor team. A player who does the little things and puts in immense effort and hustle, never taking plays off. He was credited to six points and 11 rebounds, showcasing that scoring isn’t all that makes an impact on the game.
Guard Butler took home Most Outstanding Player honors for the 2021 NCAA Tournament. Along with his 22 points, he also had seven assists and three rebounds. This was no surprise to college basketball fans across the country, as Butler has been a consistent performer all year.
Gonzaga stars Corey Kispert, Drew Timme and Joel Ayayi all had uncharacteristic nights, having far less influence in the game then rounds prior, especially Timme. This is credit to Vital and bench player Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua, who bothered Timme all night in the paint and refused to let him get going.
Another NCAA tournament is written in the history books, with Baylor shocking undefeated Gonzaga to receive its university’s first national championship in program history.
As the hype dies down from the Baylor Bears, will college basketball watchers start to question the legitimacy of Gonzaga as a basketball program? No one isn’t saying they weren’t great this year, but they can never seem to take the last step.