All season, the Gonzaga Bulldogs and Baylor Bears have demonstrated to basketball fans why they’re the two best teams in college basketball.
Behind a buzzer-beating three-pointer from sensational freshman Jalen Suggs just past halfcourt, the Zags advance to the National Title game with a hard-fought and downright gut-checking win (93-90) over a very game and well-coached UCLA Bruins team who almost didn’t qualify for the NCAA Tourney.
There were no losers in this one as this was one the best championship games I’ve ever seen albeit college or pro. Neither team lived and died from the three-point line, which is what today’s generation of basketball teams do just about every game.
Tonight was all about precision sets and play calls, as they were executed to a tee by both teams. As a fan and writer, I truly appreciated every moment of that game. The game of basketball is supposed to have a fluidity to it and with the three-point era in full effect, it’s hard to ever find that any more.
Thank you Mark Few (Zags) and Mick Cronin (Bruins)
This particular Final Four thriller was by far the best game of the tournament, and considering the stakes, it served up possibly the best finish in the history of “March Madness.”
A shot to send the Zags to the title game. Maybe my last comment was a bit much and I’m pretty sure the late great Jim Valvano, Lorenzo Charles, Derrick Whittenburg and the 1983 NC State Wolfpack would say “Hold My Beer.”
Also, the 2016-17 Villanova Wildcats who won a national championship on a Kris Jenkins buzzer-beating three would possibly gripe. But I’m sticking to my belief that this game was well as it was played gets the nod over the aforementioned other two.
Suggs says they practice those shots every day and his never go in. Well, it did this time and now they’re in the pinnacle game of the college basketball season. After the shot went through, he proceeded to run to a mostly empty press row, and jumped up while punching his fists a few times in celebration. Channeling his inner Kobe Bryant and Dwayne Wade.
Now they’ll face the ambitious Baylor Bears who looked downright dominant as they dispatched of the Houston Cougars (78-59). This will mark the first time since 2005 that the top two teams on the overall seeding list have faced off in the final. Gonzaga has spent the entire season at No.1 in the AP poll. Baylor spent 15 of 17 weeks at No. 2 and finished at No.3 behind Illinois
Gonzaga is looking to become the first team to go undefeated since the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers. The last team to enter a title game undefeated was the 1979 Indiana State Sycamores who were led by a guy named Larry Bird. And they were upended by another guy named Earvin Johnson and his Michigan State Spartans.
I think the difference could be Zags big man Drew Timme who’s been downright unstoppable this season and tournament. He’s the reason the Zags cut the nets down in Indy and take the first-ever “NATTY” back to Spokane.
Remember this name: Jay Ayayi.