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Baylor vs. Gonzaga staff picks and analysis

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TwinSpires Staff

April 4th, 2021

The 2021 NCAA Tournament has easily been the most unpredictable in March Madness history. Virtually every bracket in the nation was broken after the first weekend of competition as top seeds fell at unprecedented rates. And yet, despite the chaos, Monday evening’s championship game will feature the two programs nearly everyone expected, as No. 1 Baylor takes on No. 1 Gonzaga.

The two teams punched their tickets to the title game in very different fashion. The Bears blasted the Cougars by 19 points in a game that was never in question, while the Bulldogs needed a last second three in overtime from Jalen Suggs to slip past the Bruins.

Tue, April 6 2021, 1:00 AM







O 159.5







U 159.5

Will Gonzaga capture its first national championship on Monday night, or will Baylor pull off one last upset in a tourney where surprises have become commonplace?

We posed that question to our TwinSpires staff, and they didn’t hold back. Check out their picks and expert analysis below.

2021 NCAA Tournament National Championship Game Picks

Staff MemberATS Pick
Ashley Anderson
Baylor +4.5
Jeremy Balan
Gonzaga -4.5
Jeremy Jones
Baylor +4.5
Ryan Murphy
Gonzaga -4.5
Adam Spradling
Gonzaga -4.5
Thomas Tassone
Gonzaga -4.5
Cam Tucker
Baylor +4.5

Ashley Anderson: Baylor looked like the better team in the national semifinal and will give Mark Few's squad another scare, similar to UCLA, in the championship game. However, Gonzaga has seemed like a team of destiny all season. I’m anticipating a 2016 UNC-Villanova type finish, with the Bulldogs ultimately winning on another last-second shot.

Jeremy Balan: Plenty are jumping off the Gonzaga bandwagon, but not me. UCLA nearly pulled off the perfect game, but I don't think Baylor has the same discipline, which is what it would need to stop the Zags. 

Jeremy Jones: I think the Zags are the better team, but this will be the first time since December they faced a top team. Give me the Bears and the points all day!

Ryan Murphy: I picked the Zags at the outset of the tournament, and I'm not about to abandon them now. Gonzaga showed tremendous composure, maturity, and resilience in its overtime win against UCLA, and is perfectly positioned to become the NCAA's first unbeaten champion since 1976. Start planning the parade route, Spokane, because your Bulldogs are coming back winners.

Adam Spradling: Looking at the data, Gonzaga averages about 14 points more than Baylor, and Baylor's highest scoring game in the tournament barely beat Gonzaga's lowest scoring game in its last seven outings. The only way Gonzaga loses is if Baylor wins the war on the glass while causing turnovers, because Gonzaga is going to score. Baylor can't miss any shots or have empty possessions.

Thomas Tassone: With Jalen Suggs' ability to hit clutch shots and Drew Timme’s ballerina-like footwork in the post, I think this Gonzaga team has too much offensive firepower for Baylor to handle. Give me the Bulldogs to cut the nets in Indianapolis and cover the -4.5 spread!

Cam Tucker: Baylor is among the better three-point shooting teams in the nation, and if they get hot from beyond the arc, they will have the ability to keep the game close and perhaps have a shot at upsetting Gonzaga. The Baylor defense is also prone to forcing turnovers, which makes them a dangerous team at both ends of the court.