We have made it College Basketball fans. Welcome to the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four. After a unique year of COVID protocols and postponements of regular season games, these four teams have been blessed to play in these big games. This weekend, we are going to bring it down to two teams in which the Championship game will be played on Monday, Apr. 5.
Here are your four teams that will be participating on Saturday, Apr. 3: Houston Cougars, Baylor Bears, UCLA Bruins and your Gonzaga Bull Dogs!
These two teams represent the winners of both the East Region and the West Region of the NCAA Tournament brackets. We start out with the first semi-final matchup that will be played at 5:00pm est at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana.
We begin with the #2 seeded Houston Cougars out of the American Conference. The Cougars have had a tremendous year all year which included a Sweet 16 Tournament victory over the Number 11th seeded Syracuse Orange. They were led by the hot shooting of Buddy Boeheim (the younger son) of Syracuse head Coach Jim Boeheim. The Cougars dominated the game with their excellent offensive rebounding and shutting down the open lanes for Boeheim to make his 3’s.
Houston is a very big team and their offense is settled around their bigs who can drive inside the paint and crash the glass offensively. Then they went on to defeat the #12 seed Oregon State Beavers out of the Pac-12 Conference in the Elite 8 to make it to the final four. They will be taking on the #1 Seed Baylor Bears out of the Big 12-Conference. The Bears defeated the #3 seed Arkansas Razorbacks out of the South Eastern Conference (SEC) in their Elite 8 matchup to punch their ticket to the Final Four. Who do you think will come out on top?
After the Houston-Baylor game concludes, the second semi-final features two-teams who have been powerhouses in College Basketball, but on paper, they went in opposite directions in terms of them making it this far. It will feature the #11 seed UCLA Bruins out of the PAC-12 Conference. They shocked the world in their Elite 8 Matchup by defeating the #1 seed Michigan Wolverines out of the Big Ten Conference. Some would have said this was a big upset, but UCLA was underrated for only being an 11th seed.
They will be taking on the #1 seed Gonzaga Bull Dogs out of the Western Conference. The Bull Dogs easily rode to the top seed in the tournament despite playing in a smaller and weaker conference. In their Sweet-16 matchup, the Bull Dogs were victorious defeating the #5 seed Creighton Blue Jays out of the Big East. Then, they defeated the #6 seed USC Trojans out of the PAC-12 Conference. The controversy surrounding the Bull Dogs is their success and their #1 seed in the Tournament might be looked as a fluke. Still, the Bull Dogs have rolled their competition to have a chance to make it to the National Championship game.
Plus, this was a game that featured two-teams from some of the major conferences in the NCAA. This game will take place at 8:30pm est. also at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana. Here are the key players to watch in both games:
Impact Players on Each Team
The Houston Cougars (28-3) have a few players that can intimidate the Baylor Bears (26-2) on the offensive and defensive ends. They are an aggressive team that plays a physical, but also smart style of game. Guard Quentin Grimes leads the team in scoring, averaging 18-points per game in 32 minutes of play. He has shot 41.3% from 3-point range all year long, including their Elite 8 came vs Baylor. Look out for him to just hit 3’s from the outside at key points of the game.
Next, we have fellow guard Marcus Sasser who is a gifted scorer and a solid free-throw shooter. He has averaged 13.5-points per game in 31.6 minutes of play, and shoots 87.9% from the free-throw-line, which ranked him third among the entire roster.
Finally, we have guard DeJon Jarreau who is the third-best scorer and is third in minutes played. His best skill sets are his ability to handle the ball and slash to the hoop for an easy bucket. This season, he has averaged 10.8-points in 28.1 minutes per game, and has a relative low 71.1% free-throw percentage. These three-players have brought the offense needed for the Cougars to be the #2 seed in the tournament and helped beat Baylor in the Elite 8. And now, here are the impact players for the #1 seed, Baylor Bears.
First, let’s take a look at guard Jared Butler, who is a fantastic shooter, as well as a great shot blocker on defense. Butler leads the team in scoring as he has averaged 16.5-points along with 11 blocks per game. He also has a three-point percentage of 40.4% and shoots 76.2% from the free-throw-line. In the Bears victory over Arkansas in the Elite 8, Butler has 14-points along with 3 rebounds and will look to defeat the Cougars Saturday.
Next, we have fellow guard MaCio Teague, who also is a great shooter and shot blocker. He is second on the team averaging 15.9-points along with 10 blocked shots per game. He has a 39.6 three-point percentage and shoots 85.9% from three. Against the Razor Backs, Teague collected 22-points and 5 rebounds while going 3-7 on three-point shots.
The #11 Seed UCLA Bruins (22-9) have an impact player that can score at will and shoot the ball from mid-range. Guard Johnny Juzang can score for the Bruins and are why they have made their Cinderella run to the Final Four.
During the game against the Michigan Wolverines, Juzang scored 28-points (14 of the Bruins first 16-points) and shot 80 percent from the free-throw-line. He showed toughness by coming back on-the-court after he hobbled off with a knee injury. While the team survived a 51-49 victory that made the Bruins only the fifth #11 seed to reach the national semifinals, we will see what they have left in their engines, to see if they can win their next game.
Scoring UCLA right back into this game. pic.twitter.com/IYYmFZavpQ
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) March 31, 2021
Gonzaga Bull Dogs
The #1 Seed Gonzaga Bull Dogs (30-0) could easily be the best team in the country, as well as the best team ever in College Basketball history. They have three-trio players that has carried the Bull Dogs to this magical run reaching the Final Four. The trio is considered to be one of the greatest of all-time.
Drew Timme led Gonzaga with 23-points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals, while Jalen Suggs, and Corey Kispert both had 18.
The Bulldogs used full-court pressure at key times of the game and easily defeated the #6 seed USC Trojans 85-66, to make their first final four appearance since 2017.
Both final four games should be fun, especially when you have a team who could possibly make history, should Gonzaga make the National Championship game.
Teams That were Snubbed
- Virginia Cavaliers – The #4 seed in the NCAA tournament were looking for their second National Championship this year. The Cavs started the year hot, and would probably had won the ACC tournament had they’d not been eliminated due to COVID. Now, they will have a long offseason to retool their roster. Problem is, they were hit hard with players entering the transfer portal. That is another issue to debate for another time.
- Michigan Wolverines – Here, we have the Maiz and Blue entering the tournament as the #1 seed. They made it all the way to the elite 8 and were upset by a Bruins team by a single basket in overtime. If I was Michigan’s coach, I would have told reporters that this game was not an upset. UCLA is a good team who had to fight as a bubble team, and were one of the few teams left to barely squeeze in. But, that’s why you play the game. Anything can happen when you overlook a team. I want to wish all the teams in the final four GOOD LUCK!
Join us LIVE after @umichbball‘s season ends in the #Elite8 after a tough battle with UCLA.#MarchMadness https://t.co/h1CRdo6fF7
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 31, 2021