The single-elimination nature of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament means March Madness doesn’t always end with the two favorites squaring off in April. In this case, despite a plethora of upsets throughout the tournament, the two teams that have occupied the first and second positions in the polls for nearly the entire season have reached the final day.
It will be the first men's national championship game since 2005 to feature the top two tournament seeds, as each school will attempt to win its program's first national championship. With a combined two losses, both by Baylor, the game will tie the record for least number of losses by Division I national title game participants.
Adding to the hype, it is a matchup that fans have been hoping to see since their game originally scheduled four months earlier to the day had to be called off. Whatever happens, we know that at the end of the night, one program will be crowned national champion for the first time.
Here's everything you need to know about Monday's men's NCAA Tournament national championship game (all times Eastern and all betting odds via BetMGM as of 7 p.m. on Sunday):
No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 1 Baylor
Time: 9:20 p.m. Location: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis.
Announcers: Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery, Grant Hill, Tracy Wolfson.
How to stream: March Madness Live, fuboTV, Paramount+.
Odds: Gonzaga -4.5; over/under: 159.5.
About Gonzaga (31-0): One question has now been answered about the Bulldogs. Yes, they can execute with the game on the line late. The biggest question now heading into the program’s second national championship game is whether they can recharge their batteries after such a mentally and physically draining contest on less than 48 hours’ rest. Their superb passing ability and numerous scoring options usually help them compensate if someone is having an off day, but it would help if Corey Kispert, who has been in a mini shooting slump, can find the range quickly.
Scoring: 91.6; Scoring defense: 69.2; Field goal percentage: 55.0; Three-point percentage: 37.0; Free throw percentage: 73.1; Rebounding margin: 7.6; Assist/turnover ratio: 1.6.
Points: Drew Timme, 19.2; Rebounds: Timme, 7.1; Assists: Jalen Suggs, 4.6.
About Baylor (27-2): The Bears have a couple of advantages entering this title tilt. They had a few extra hours to prepare after playing the early game on Saturday, and the key contributors were able to grab some additional rest with the game in hand. Baylor’s three-point accuracy is just part of its success on offense. The Bears’ floor spacing allows them to battle for second-chance points even if their threes aren’t falling. But they’ll still need to make quite a few triples if, as expected, the game is played at breakneck speed.
Scoring: 82.8; Scoring defense: 65.3; Field goal percentage: 48.8; Three-point percentage: 41.2; Free throw percentage: 70.1; Rebounding margin: 4.1; Assist/turnover ratio: 1.5.
Points: Jared Butler, 16.6; Rebounds: Mark Vital, 6.5; Assists: Davion Mitchell, 5.5.
Follow Jordan Mendoza on Twitter: @jord_mendoza.
Follow Eddie Timanus on Twitter: @EddieTimanus
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