Gonzaga and Baylor will play in the National Championship with both teams looking for their first ever National Championship to add to their resume. Which team has the edge according to the NCAAB odds?
Gonzaga’s Jalen Suggs nailed a bank-shot and half-court heave in overtime to defeat the UCLA Bruins and get to the Championship game. Meanwhile, the Baylor Bears didn’t have any drama in their win against the Houston Cougars and looked really good offensively.
Baylor Bears vs. Gonzaga Bulldogs
Monday, April 5, 2021 – 9:20pm EST at Lucas Oil Stadium
We’ve got the two best teams playing for the Championship game. This is what everyone wanted. This is what everyone got. The public won again with Baylor and Gonzaga parlays cashing all over the place.
Anyway, Gonzaga is undefeated. They’ve won every single game they’ve played this season and have one more to go. If you can’t recall a time where a team had an undefeated record in college basketball. It’s probably because you're too young.
There have only been seven undefeated champions since 1939 and the latest one was Indiana in 1975-1976. Neither Gonzaga or Baylor have a national championship on their resume. One will have it sharpied on Monday.
Gonzaga is the top offense in the nation according to KenPom. They’re shooting an effective field goal percentage of 61.1 percent and have nailed 63.9 percent of two’s this season, which is the best in the nation. On top of that, Gonzaga has hit 37 percent of their threes, limit turnovers and are above average on the offensive glass while getting to the line at a solid pace.
Gonzaga is led by Drew Timme who averages 19.2 points per game but basically anyone on this roster can lead this team on any given day. Corey Kispert averages 18.8 points and Jalen Suggs averages 14.1 points. Suggs was the player to send Gonzaga to the final game and will be a top pick in the NBA Draft when his college career is over.
On defense, the Bulldogs are allowing a 47.5 percent effective field goal percentage and have done well on the defensive glass this season, ranking 18th in offensive rebounding percentage for opponents. Teams are shooting 32.3 percent from long range and 47 percent from inside against the Bulldogs but Gonzaga has limited fouls this season.
Baylor, on the other hand, are the second best offense in the nation, behind Gonzaga. They’re shooting a 56.7 percent effective field goal percentage and grab offensive boards 36.9 percent of the time, which is sixth best.
The Bears pride themselves from deep, shooting 41.2 percent from three this season, which is the best in the nation. Gonzaga hasn’t defended the three all that well this season but have limited fouls, an area where Baylor doesn’t seem to be able to do. They’re 295th in free throw attempts to field goal attempts which could hurt them down the stretch against Gonzaga.
Baylor is led by Jared Butler who averages 16.6 points per game but any of those three guards at Baylor can be the guy. MaCio Teague averages 15.8 points per game while Davion Mitchell averages 14 points per game this season. Mitchell and Butler are solid passers while Teague is more of a primary scorer.
On defense, Baylor will force plenty of turnovers at 24.6 percent. That’s third in the nation for the Bears but without turnovers, they’re dead meat. Baylor is allowing teams to shoot a 48.7 percent effective field goal percentage. Furthermore, they're allowing opponents to knock down 33 percent of threes and 48.3 percent inside the arc this season.
Baylor has also had trouble rebounding on defense, which is another area where Baylor could struggle against Gonzaga. Prediction Baylor doesn’t get to the foul line as much as Gonzaga and doesn’t rebound well on the defensive end. These are two areas where Gonzaga can exploit Baylor and win the game on both ends of the floor.
This is going to be a shootout. Of course, Baylor needs to force a lot of turnovers to win this game but Gonzaga has been careful with the ball all season long.
With that, for my NCAAB pick, I’ll take Gonzaga against the spread to win their first National Championship.
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.