Indianapolis — After a yearlong hiatus from intercollegiate athletics, one of the most hyped tournaments, the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, also known as March Madness, returned to form in a thrilling exposition. The teams accumulated throughout the process of Selection Sunday, a tradition by which the most impressive 68 contenders were selected to participate in the tournament, posted a flurry of electrifying matchups that went down to wire.
On March 21, 2020, the NCAA announced it would postpone the convention, leaving many athletes that were college seniors having to decide how to continue their careers.
Of the 68 teams competing, 32 teams received an automatic bid from winning their conference tournaments. The remaining 36 teams received a bid from the NCAA selection committee.
Historically, the college with the most championships is UCLA, with 11 total championships.
UCLA made a historic run in the 2021 ‘Big Dance.’ They were selected as a member of the First Four but annihilated their way through the tournament.
They advanced all the way to face no. 1 seed Gonzaga, who was undefeated during the matchup with UCLA. In an astounding thriller that went down to the wire, Gonzaga’s guard Jalen Suggs hit a desperation three from just past half-court to win the game.
Unfortunately for the powerhouse Gonzaga Bulldogs team, the championship game after that featured a battle-tested and weathered Baylor Bears team that so decisively pounded Gonzaga from the beginning of the match up until the final buzzer. In the end, Baylor emerged victorious and ended Gonzaga’s winning streak.
The final night of the NCAA tournament was a stunning ride. “We’re really good defensively. I thought we made things tough tonight,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said. “Gonzaga missed some shots that they probably normally make. But credit our guys for making everything difficult.”
“They were just so much more aggressive than us,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. “They just literally busted us out of anything we could possibly do on offense.”
“They punched us in the mouth right at the get-go,” Gonzaga star Corey Kispert said. “And it took a long, long time for us to recover and start playing them even again. But then it was too late.”
According to CNN reporter Steve Almasy, Few said he never saw his team play as if they were weighted down by the pressure to go undefeated.
Baylor star Jared Butler explained his insights from the game, “I was struggling the whole tournament probably until the Final Four,” Butler said. “And as a shooter, it’s hard. Like, it just makes the days longer, and you think about it all day long. But I knew … I couldn’t go the whole tournament and not shoot well.” Butler had 22 points to lead the Bears.
Few explained his team ” … loves one another. Just such a positive spirit yet such a competitive spirit.”
Nonetheless, Drew acknowledged the historic run for the Bears and how it felt for Texas. “Look at how much great basketball we have (in Texas) from high school, AAU, junior college, college,” Drew said. “And we haven’t won a national championship since ’66. It’s long overdue for the state, and I’m so pleased for all of them.”
The Baylor Bears’ season was justified after giving up their perfect record to Kansas and Oklahoma State. They retaliated against this star-studded Gonzaga offense and prolific Gonzaga defense to capture the 2021 NCAA title. This was Baylor’s first Intercollegiate title for Men’s Basketball. The Baylor Women’s Intercollegiate Basketball team has won the tournament three times, including one in 2019.