Thursday, April 15, 2021

Final Four odds, picks and predictions: Baylor beats Houston, Gonzaga passes UCLA for 2021 title game

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What story of the National Final Four Championship will come true?

There are four compelling stories to tell as the National Semifinals approach at Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday.

No.1 Baylor (26-2) meets No.2 Houston (28-3) in the first domestic semifinal at 5:14 p.m. The Bears make their third appearance in the Final Four and look to make the championship game for the first time since 1948. The Cougars are back in the Final Four for the first time since Phi Slama Jama’s heyday in the 1980s. This showdown of former Southwestern Conference rivals should be heated.

He’s the table creator for the second game between No.1 Gonzaga (30-0) and No.11 UCLA (22-9) in the second semi-final at 8:34 p.m. The Bulldogs are looking to finish the first season. undefeated since Indiana in 1975-76. The Bruins have made their run from the top four and are looking to add a 12th national championship to their collection.

Which two teams will complete these stories? Sporting News gives its predictions for the national semi-finals:

MORE MARS MADNESS: Live scores | Support updated | TV program

Final Four odds 2021

Below are the March Madness opening odds for the Final Four, including point spreads, silver lines and passing totals for each game, according to the bookmaker FanDuel.

Thu Propagated Moneyline More under
Baylor vs. Houston BAY -5 BAY -215 134
Gonzaga vs. UCLA GON -14 GON -1100 145.5

The last four choices, the predictions

N ° 1 Baylor (-5) against N ° 2 Houston

Saturday, 5:14 p.m., CBS

Baylor is considered the best bet to take out Gonzaga due to a top 10 offense that averages 83.0 points per game, but they’ll have to go through a defensive-minded Houston side first. It is the reflection of coaches Scott Drew and Kelvin Sampson.

The Bears’ strength is a backcourt that includes Jared Butler, MaCio Teague and Davion Mitchell. Baylor succeeds 35.7% of their three-point attempts in the tournament, but a hidden key to that success has been such players as Adam Flagler, Matthew Mayer, Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua, Mark Vital and Flo Thamba.

This eight-man rotation has been effective and the Bears are good enough to win with their offense or defense.

Houston’s offense revolved around Quentin Grimes, who managed 43.6% of his 3-point attempts in the tournament. Marcus Sasser is an excellent winger averaging 13.3 points per game, and Dejon Jarreau and Justin Gorham are key players. The Cougars win with their defense. They only allowed 55.8 ppg. in the tournament, and that approach will not change against Baylor.

The key game will be Grimes against Mitchell, who is one of the best defensive players in college basketball. Houston needs to shoot the ball from a distance of 3 points, and Baylor has limited their opponents to 26.4 shots from that distance.

Expect a close game in the first half, with tough defense on both sides. Baylor, however, are the most consistent offensive team and should generate enough transition points and second chances in the second half to pull out. The Bears will have to take down the free throws late to seal it, and that’s no guarantee given they’re at 70.2% for the season.

Baylor, however, succeeds and qualifies for the national championship game.

Final score: Baylor 73, Houston 67

Gonzaga No.1 (-14) vs. No.11 UCLA

Saturday, 8:34 p.m., CBS

The Bulldogs have beaten their top four tournament opponents averaging 24 points per game, a dominant run of a season in which they are averaging 91.6 points per game. Mark Few is on the verge of securing that elusive National Championship, and the offense is impressive.

Gonzaga will present UCLA’s attacking problems, and it starts with center Drew Timme (18.9 points per game). The Bruins already have a big advantage, and Timme’s ability to go through doubles teams will make that job even more difficult. UCLA forward Cody Riley, who fouled Michigan, will be there.

Corey Kispert (19.0 ppg.) And Jalen Suggs (14.0 ppg.) Are options scoring high in the backcourt, and Joel Ayayi and Andrew Nembhard can score double figures every night.

UCLA should be perfect on both sides, but coach Mick Cronin deserves credit for instilling the belief that led to upheavals against No. 2 Alabama and No. 1 Michigan in the region. from the east.

The Bruins offense continues to roll with Johnny Juzang, a transfer from Kentucky averaging 22.4 points per game. in the tournament. Jaime Jaquez, Jules Bernard and Tyger Campbell – a point guard who has stepped up the tournament – form a talented backcourt.

The problem is that UCLA is prone to severe droughts and cannot afford to have one against Gonzaga’s accelerated offensive. The Bruins are 9-1 when they impose 13 or more turnovers, but they might need Gonzaga to commit at least 20 turnovers and get through a night of filming.

It is too much to ask. Emotions should be high because of the Pac-12’s pride dynamic, but Gonzaga wins this shot at a perfect season in style.

Final score: Gonzaga 84, UCLA 70

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