For all the Madness we have enjoyed in the 2021 NCAA Tournament — literally, the most upset-filled tournament in the history of March Madness — we still have arrived at a foregone conclusion.
No. 1 Gonzaga (31-0) and No. 1 Baylor (27-2), the consensus top two teams in the country for a majority of the season, will face off in the final game of the 2021 NCAA Tournament. Both the Bulldogs and Bears have been the clear best team when they have taken the court this March, winning by a combined average of 18.0 and 15.2 points per game, respectively.
The only contest that was in doubt was Gonzaga's Final Four test against UCLA. The Bulldogs got everything they wanted and more out of the Bruins, and needed a Jalen Suggs halfcourt, buzzer-beating 3 in overtime to prevail 93-90. Whether that means Gonzaga will be battle-tested or wearied on Monday remains to be seen.
Just because Gonzaga got a tough game against the 11-seeded Bruins doesn't mean they played poorly. On the contrary, all five of Mark Few's starters scored in the double digits, with Drew Timme, Corey Kispert, Suggs, Andrew Nembhard and Joel Ayayi all making timely plays to keep the Bulldogs in contention. They'll face a Baylor squad that is also playing excellent ball, particularly behind guards Jared Butler and Davion Mitchell.
Something has to give in both teams' bid for their first-ever national title. Will the Bulldogs complete their unbeaten run and advance to 32-0? Or will the Bears become the latest team to deny perfection while securing their first championship in program history?
Here's everything you need to know about Monday's matchup
What channel is Baylor vs. Houston on tonight?
CBS, which has exclusive broadcast rights for the 2021 Final Four and national championship game, will air Gonzaga-Baylor on Monday.
Gonzaga vs. Baylor start time
- Date: Monday, April 5
- Time: 9:20 p.m. ET | 6:20 p.m. PT
- Broadcast team: Jim Nantz (play-by-play), Grant Hill, Bill Raftery (analysts), Tracy Wolfson (reporter), Gene Steratore (rules analyst)
The national championship game between Gonzaga and Baylor is scheduled to tip off at 9:20 p.m. ET on Monday, April 5.
Where is the NCAA Tournament championship in 2021?
- Location: Lucas Oil Stadium (Indianapolis)
Lucas Oil Stadium will serve as the site for the national championship game. Because the COVID-19 pandemic forced the 2021 NCAA Tournament to be played entirely in the state of Indiana, the venue also was used as early as the first round to host games.
March Madness will move to New Orleans in 2022, Houston in 2023, Phoenix in 2024 and San Antonio in 2025 before returning to Indianapolis' Lucas Oil Stadium in 2026. Below are the full dates for the Final Four in each of the next five seasons.
|2022||New Orleans||Mercedes-Benz Superdome||April 2, 4|
|2023||Houston||NRG Stadium||April 1, 3|
|2024||Glendale, Ariz.||State Farm Stadium||April 6, 8|
|2025||San Antonio||Alamodome||April 5, 7|
|2026||Indianapolis||Lucas Oil Stadium||April 4, 6|
Gonzaga vs. Baylor odds to win national championship
Gonzaga opened as a 4.5-point favorite over Baylor, and the line stayed consistent through noon ET on Sunday. The Bears had little trouble overpowering 2-seeded Houston in the Final Four, a team that had previously only faced double-digit seeds. The Bulldogs, however, fought tooth and nail in a power struggle against 11-seed UCLA, winning on a last-second overtime heave from freshman Jalen Suggs. Whether that will have any bearing on the teams' play on Monday remains to be seen, but now both teams have been battle-tested in the tournament:
Below is spread, over/under and moneyline for Baylor-Houston as of noon ET on Sunday, April 4:
- Spread: Baylor (-4.5)
- Over/under: 159.5
- Moneyline: Gonzaga -210, Baylor +180
Gonzaga NCAA Tournament 2021 record
|Date||Round||Opponent (region seed)||Result|
|Saturday, March 20||Round 1||Norfolk State (West 16 seed)||W, 98-55|
|Monday, March 22||Round 2||Oklahoma (West 8 seed)||W, 87-71|
|Sunday, March 28||Sweet 16||Creighton (West 5 seed)||W, 83-65|
|Tuesday, March 30||Elite Eight||USC (West 6 seed)||W, 85-66|
|Saturday, April 3||Final Four||UCLA (East 11 seed)||W, 93-90 (OT)|
|Saturday, April 3||National championship||Baylor (South 1 seed)||TBD|
Baylor NCAA Tournament 2021 record
|Date||Round||Opponent (region seed)||Result|
|Friday, March 19||Round 1||Hartford (South 16 seed)||W, 79-55|
|Sunday, March 21||Round 2||Wisconsin (South 9 seed)||W, 76-63|
|Saturday, March 27||Sweet 16||Villanova (South 5 seed)||W, 62-51|
|Monday, March 29||Elite Eight||Arkansas (South 3 seed)||W, 81-72|
|Saturday, April 3||Final Four||Houston (Midwest 2 seed)||W, 78-59|
|Monday, April 5||National championship||Gonzaga (West 1 seed)||TBD|
Gonzaga vs. Baylor news from Sporting News
- Return of Baylor's D vs. Villanova sends ominous warning to March Madness contenders
- Baylor had to wait a year to reach the Final Four — and Houston paid for it
- Jalen Suggs' heavenly heave puts Gonzaga into title game — and UCLA on track to excel in future
- Mark Few was one of the few who saw Gonzaga becoming a national power
- Can Gonzaga top '96 Kentucky, '90 UNLV as most dominant NCAA Tournament team since 1985?
- Gonzaga among NCAA Tournament’s greatest teams? Maybe, but first they have a party to attend
- Gonzaga is elite, but only March Madness perfection can satisfy Bulldogs now
- Gonzaga basketball since 1999: Inside the numbers of unlikely rise from Cinderella to blue-blooded powerhouse
- Gonzaga will not finish as undefeated NCAA champion without conquering the Curse of the Hoosiers