NCAA Tournament National Championship: (1) Gonzaga (32-0) vs (1) Baylor (27-2) prediction and college basketball game preview.
Gonzaga vs Baylor Broadcast
Date: Monday, April 5
Game Time: 8:20 pm ET
Venue: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN
Gonzaga vs Baylor Game Preview
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Why Baylor Will Win
Did Baylor need a half court shot in overtime to beat an 11 seed? No, it needed about seven minutes to end the blowout win over Houston on the way to a 25-point halftime lead and a 78-59 win.
The Bears have been close to perfect throughout the tournament, getting better and stronger as the fun has gone on with good shooting inside and out, a D that’s been a killer against the three, and most importantly against the Zags, no problems with turnovers.
Gonzaga does a whole lot of things right, but it’s about to turn the lights out like no one in America when the takeaways start coming. Why wasn’t it able to put away UCLA until the very last shot? The Bruins turned it over a mere ten times in the 45 minutes. Baylor hasn’t had a double-digit turnover game in the last four rounds.
Gonzaga will hit its shots, but along with not giving them the easy momentum baskets on the move, everything as to be contested. UCLA was outstanding at bothering the Bulldogs just a little bit – they had to work to hit 59% from the field – and there weren’t enough second chance points to matter.
There might not be a ton of size compared to Gonzaga, but everyone can move, everyone can shoot well, and everyone forces a whole lot of mistakes by guarding hard everywhere.
Why Gonzaga Will Win
Too many weapons.
It took a nearly perfect game by UCLA to stay in it, and it still lost.
The Bruins were lights out from the field – it’s not like they were hitting a ton of open, uncontested shots on the way to a 58% night – there were few big mistakes, and everything was dropping from three against a defense that’s great at bothering the outside shooters.
UCLA didn’t have any answer for 6-10 Drew Timme going all Tim Duncan on the inside, and there’s no accounting for Jalen Suggs.
Yeah, Suggs will be remembered for that, and for the block and overhanded, thread-the-needle bounce pass to Timme for a score, but he’s also been a killer on defense, too.
All five main men can score, Timme has taken his game up a few notches, and the team continues to win even with Corey Kispert being more steady than take-over-sensational – if you can call averaging 17 points in the tournament just okay.
Gonzaga has no issues getting on the move with Baylor, it’ll keep working inside as much as possible, and the defense that continues to not get its due won’t get hit for 58% from the field two games in a row.
The Bulldogs will win the battle on the boards, on the free throw line, and …
What’s Going To Happen
Gonzaga will win to finish 32-0 – the same record as the 1976 Indiana team ended up with as the last undefeated national championship winner.
The Bulldogs were overdue to get pushed. USC had the right defensive style, size, and blend to get it done, but that all went bye-bye two minutes in.
UCLA balled out hard and had its chances to pull it off, but Gonzaga still managed to fight through to move on.
Baylor will miss that one extra free throw, will give up that one extra foul, and will fail to get enough defensive big stops in the interior to let Gonzaga start to pull away just a bit.
Don’t expect another Gonzaga thriller, but it’ll be wildly entertaining, each team will go on plenty of big runs, and the game between these two that we were supposed to get in December will be more than worth the wait.
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Gonzaga vs Baylor Prediction, Line
Gonzaga 84, Baylor 77
Line: Gonzaga -4.5, o/u: 159.5
ATS Confidence out of 5: 3
Must See Rating: 5
1: One Shining Moment