The University of Gonzaga Bulldogs are one win away from a perfect season in men’s college basketball. Despite winning by an average of 24 points in the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament leading up to Saturday, Gonzaga was given a huge test by the 11th-ranked UCLA Bruins, who they beat 93-90 in overtime. It would take a dramatic 40-foot buzzer beater by Jalen Suggs of Saint Paul, MN to put the Bulldogs in Monday’s NCAA Championship game against the University of Baylor.
The fact that the Bulldogs were tested by the Bruins on Saturday is also a gigantic surprise. That is because Gonzaga entered the game as a 14.5 point favourite, and did not look anything like a number one seed in the contest. Drew Timme of Dallas, TX led the Bulldogs with 25 points.
Despite being a regular contender in recent years, Gonzaga has never before won the National Championship. Their 38 wins NCAA tournament wins are the fourth most ever by a school to have never won the title. They are only behind Illinois, Purdue and Oklahoma. No team has been undefeated since the University of Indiana went 32-0 in 1976. So far this season, the Bulldogs have won their first 31 games.
A major reason for the Bulldogs success this year has been their offense. Heading into their game against the Bruins, they were averaging a nation-high 91.6 points per game, an average that increased after Saturday. However despite giving up 90 points, Suggs was fantastic on the defensive end too. He had a sensational block on a dunk attempt by Cody Riley of the Bruins.
There is no doubt that the Bulldogs need to better defensively overall against the Baylor University Bears than they were against the Bruins. Baylor dominated Houston 78-59 in the other semi-final. Jared Butler of Reserve, LA led Baylor with 17 points.
Meanwhile, the NCAA Women’s Basketball Final took place on Sunday. In the championship game, Stanford beat Arizona 54-53.