College Basketball National Championship Picks – Baylor vs. Gonzaga

by
PUBLISHED: Monday, April 5th, 2021
LAST UPDATE: 10:10 am, Mon, April 5, 2021

College Basketball National Championship Picks – Baylor vs. Gonzaga
We are sure to have a doozy of a national championship game on Monday night. The top-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs meet the second-ranked Baylor Bears on CBS for the title. Let's look at College Basketball National Championship Picks.

Date & Time
April 5th, 2021 9:20pm
Location
Indianapolis, IN
Media Coverage
CBS

We are sure to have a doozy of a national championship game on Monday night. After Stanford squeaked past Arizona to win the women’s national championship on Sunday night, we are hoping to see another game come down to the wire. Gonzaga is coming off the most memorable game of the NCAA Tournament since Villanova beat North Carolina for the title in 2017. The Bulldogs are hoping to win their first national championship in school history, but Baylor won’t be easy to take down. The Bears have been the second-best team in the country all year and hammered Houston in the Final Four.

Gonzaga Bulldogs -4 vs. Baylor Bears, O/U 159.5

Mark Few and Gonzaga are out to make history in more ways than one. The Bulldogs are not only hoping to win their first national title, as they are also looking to become the first undefeated national champion since the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers. Gonzaga is currently 31-0 coming into this game with wins over Kansas, West Virginia, Iowa, and Virginia in the regular season and victories over Oklahoma, Creighton, USC, and UCLA in the NCAA Tournament.

Baylor won 18 straight games to start the season. The Bears’ only two losses came against Kansas and Oklahoma State, and they knocked off both of those teams when they met in Waco. They beat Illinois in non-conference play and haven’t been seriously tested in the NCAA Tournament with comfortable wins over Wisconsin, Villanova, Arkansas, and Houston.

Game Preview

This Gonzaga team is one of the most talented we’ve seen in recent memory. All five of the Bulldogs starters are likely to be in the NBA within the next few years. They don’t have much depth, but they don’t need to have a lot in reserve with so much star power on the floor.

Senior Corey Kispert is the team’s leader. Kispert was named the West Coast Conference Player of the Year this season, and he led Gonzaga in scoring during the regular season. He is averaging 18.8 PPG and making 44.5% of his threes to lead the Bulldogs in that category.

Drew Timme has taken over in the NCAA Tournament. The 6’10 center is averaging 19.2 PPG and 7.1 RPG to lead the Bulldogs in both categories, and he has scored at least 22 points in Gonzaga’s last four games. We have seen him get in foul trouble in his last two games, so he must avoid that given his importance against Baylor. He stands to be the difference maker because of his size.

The best player on the court might be Jalen Suggs. The freshman guard is projected to be one of the first players off the board in the 2021 NBA Draft. Suggs etched his name in history with his game-winning buzzer beater against UCLA, and he is a complete player with 14.1 PPG, 5.5 RPG, and 4.6 APG.

Gonzaga has the best offense in the country. The Bulldogs lead the nation in adjusted efficiency per Ken Pomeroy. They are particularly dangerous inside the arc, sinking an NCAA best 63.9% twos.

Baylor ranks second in offensive efficiency. The Bears are the best three-point shooting team in the nation, knocking down 41.2% of their threes.

Jared Butler, MaCio Teague, and Davion Mitchell are the leaders for the Bears. Butler is averaging 16.6 PPG and 2.0 SPG to lead the Bears in those categories, and he is making 41.5% of his threes. Teague is averaging 15.8 PPG with 4.0 RPG, while Mitchell is averaging 14.0 PPG and leads the team with 5.5 APG and is knocking down 45.3% of his threes.

Adam Flagler and Matthew Mayer are also sharpshooters from downtown, but Baylor doesn’t have a lot of size. The Bears do a good job on the offensive glass, ranking sixth in offensive rebounding percentage, but this team can get outmuscled down low by athletic big men.

The Bears will need to force turnovers to pull off the upset. They rank third nationally in forced turnover percentage, and these guards have quick hands that can force opponents into mistakes. However, Gonzaga’s size and experience will be too much for Baylor to overcome.

Best Bet: Gonzaga -4