While it sucks to have no more college hoops for another year, fans must be grateful for the incredible March Madness tournament that took place this past month. The last few games gave fans moments and plays to remember. In the Final Four matchup between Gonzaga and UCLA, Jalen Suggs hit a half-court, game-winning three in overtime to send Gonzaga to the finals. Suggs, a projected top-five pick in the draft, played incredibly well in the tournament, which secured him a spot in the top three.
Other players that impacted their draft stock were Johnny Juzang and Davion Mitchell. Juzang, a transfer from Kentucky, led UCLA on their miraculous Final Four run, averaging over twenty points a game. Juzang’s incredible tournament play is very similar to Carsen Edwards’s play for Purdue in the 2019 NCAA tournament, making him an early second-round pick. If Juzang decides to enter the draft, teams will be interested in him. But if he comes back for another year at UCLA, scouts will be on the lookout to see what Juzang could add. It’s crazy to think that a team that overcame a double-digit halftime deficit in the First Four made it to the Final Four. Also, UCLA gave Gonzaga a very challenging matchup that affecting the Bulldogs’ play in the championship.
Davion Mitchell likely got himself into lottery consideration in the NBA draft. Mitchell was part of an incredible group of great shooting and defensive guards that led Baylor to their program’s first national championship. Mitchell showed his true potential in the very competitive and tight tournament games.
Another great story from the tournament was fifteen seeded Oral Roberts’ Cinderella run. While the school might sound random, they had NCAA leading scorer Max Abmas on their squad. The run ended in the Sweet Sixteen but was way above expectations. Following this year’s upset with the fifteen seed, higher-ranked teams should disregard the opposing team’s rank as teams ranked that high bring their best game as if it’s their last game.
Crazy upsets gave Houston a path to the Final Four, only facing double-digit seeds. Even though it may seem lucky to play higher seeds, Houston was underprepared for their Final Four matchup against Baylor.
As per tradition, the total of the seeds in the Final Four was under twenty. What’s crazy about this is one of the teams was ranked eleven, yet two of the other teams were one seeds.
Sadly for Gonzaga, their run for an undefeated season fell short. As Mark Titus said, “Gonzaga was who we thought they were, Baylor was just better.” This year’s Gonzaga team was one of the best rosters in NCAA basketball history. A grand milestone would have been going undefeated, but it was the first game that an opponent outplayed them.
Baylor’s Basketball Program
Baylor’s recent rebuild with coach Scott Drew has been highly successful. A national championship will undoubtedly draw attention to high school recruits looking for a school with a great basketball program.
The 2021 March Madness tournament will go down as one of the better tournaments in recent years.