Two schools that haven’t been in the Final Four since the expanded era of the NCAA tournament began in 1985 are back in the spotlight this year.
No.1 Baylor will meet No.2 Houston in a Final Four domestic semifinal on Saturday. The tipoff will take place at 5 p.m. or 8:30 p.m. ET at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The game will be televised by CBS.
Baylor (26-2) won the region south under coach Scott Drew with an 81-72 victory over Arkansas in the region final. The Bears are in the Final Four for the first time since 1950. Jared Butler, MaCio Teague and Davion Mitchell continue to lead Baylor through their tournament.
Houston (28-3), the Midwestern champion, is in the Final Four for the first time since Phi Slama Jama’s heyday of 1982-84. Coach Kevin Sampson returns to the Final Four for the first time since 2002. Quentin Grimes and Marcus Sasser combined for nine 3-pointers in the Cougars’ 67-61 win over Oregon State in the Elite Eight.
Here’s everything you need to know about betting Baylor vs Arkansas in the 2021 NCAA Tournament, including updated odds, trends and our predictions for the Final Four game.
Baylor vs Houston odds
- Propagated: Baylor (-5)
- More under: 135.5
- Moneyline: Baylor -210, Houston +176
Three betting trends to watch out for
– Baylor are 19-10 ATS this season. The Bears are 8-3 ATS when favored by less than 10 points.
– Baylor are 9-3 ATS and 12-0 S / U in non-conference games.
– Houston is 20-11 CEP this season and 11-0 S / U in non-conference games. This is the Cougars’ first game as an underdog this season.
History of the Final Four
Houston is making its sixth Final Four appearance. The Cougars reached the NCAA Championship game in 1983 and 1984 with teams led by Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler. Baylor made Final Four appearances in 1948 and 1950. Kentucky defeated the Bears 58-42 in the 1948 National Championship game.
Key players at Baylor
Butler (16.5 points per game), Teague (15.9 points per game) and Mitchell (14.0 points per game) carry the scoring load for the Bears, and the top-class men also combine for nearly 12 assists per game. Baylor also has a deep core of role players including Adam Flagler (9.0 ppg), Matthew Mayer (8.2 ppg), Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua (6.3 ppg), Mark Vital (5.7 ppg) and Flo Thamba (3.6 ppg). This eight-man rotation is in gear at the right time.
Houston key players
Junior guard Quentin Grimes is averaging 18.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game. He is 17 of 39 (43.6 percent) of the 3-point lineup in the NCAA tournament. Sasser is averaging 13.3 points in the Cougars’ dynamic backcourt, and senior Dejon Jarreau is contributing 10.8 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. Justin Gorham (8.6 ppg, 8.6 rpg) is the main player in the post
Best Individual Game: Grimes vs Mitchell
It has become a theme for Baylor throughout the season. Mitchell is a stopper – the Big 12 defensive player of the year. The Bears defense struggled in the first half against Arkansas when Mitchell hit three first-half fouls. Grimes only has one game with 10 or more free throws this season, and he can’t settle for 3-point shots with Mitchell on the perimeter.
Baylor vs Houston stats you should know
Both teams defended the 3-point line well throughout the tournament. Houston’s four opponents shot 24 of 80 (30%) from there. Baylor limited their opponents to 19 of 72 shots (26.4%) at 3 points. If this trend continues, the quick break points and running on a half court will make a difference on both sides.
Get to know . . . MaCio Teague
Teague, a senior who started his career at UNC-Asheville, has become one of the tournament’s wellness stories. He failed to score in double digits in consecutive games for the first time this season in the second and third round games against Villanova and Wisconsin, but he rebounded with 22 points against Arkansas. Teague is Baylor’s second-best free throw shooter at 85.9%. On a stage where it matters, he could be a key player in the final minutes.
Baylor vs Houston prediction
The Schools have a history dating back to their Southwestern conference days, and the Cougars have a 38-15 advantage in the series. However, the teams haven’t met since 2003 and Final Four droughts are expected to add to the intensity. Both teams can win with their defense, which could lead to some tough shots in the first half. Look for both teams to settle in for a tight second half, but Baylor’s backcourt (and depth) will make the difference. The Bears take advantage of second chance points and make clutchless throws on the stretch.
Final score: Baylor 73, Houston 67