The Final Four Is Set!

Image Courtesy of CA

Image Courtesy of CA

Stefan Erwin, Staff Writer

The Final Four is set for the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament!  After another great weekend of basketball, there are four teams remaining who will compete for the 2021 NCAA title this weekend.  These four teams are Gonzaga, Baylor, Houston, and UCLA.

Gonzaga has been the favorite to win the tournament as they have yet to lose a game this year.  Gonzaga made it to the Final Four and then the Championship just four years ago in 2017 where they lost to North Carolina.  This year they have made it to the Final Four again as the favorites to win it all.  They have been very dominant in the tournament and have won every game by more than 15 points so far.  Gonzaga has a number of great players who have played well consistently to get them where they are.  They are set to play UCLA on Saturday for a trip to the Championship.

UCLA beat one seed Michigan to make it to the Final Four for the first time since 2008.  UCLA was an 11 seed this year and is only the second team ever to make it to the Final Four after being in the First Four games!  The only other team able to accomplish this was VCU in 2011.  UCLA has been incredible so far led by their star Johnny Juzang.  Juzang was a transfer from Kentucky and has had an amazing tournament so far averaging 21.6 points per game while dealing with an ankle injury the whole time.  Credit is also due to guards Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Tyger Campbell who have been instrumental in UCLA’s run.  Their run has been incredible to watch and I can only hope that it will continue as on Saturday they will meet the ultimate opponent, Gonzaga.

On the other side of the bracket, Baylor has made it to their first Final Four since 1950!  Baylor had a great season leading the Big 12 with a record of 26-2 and earning a one seed in the tournament.  They are the best 3-point shooting team in the tournament with the team averaging 41.8% on 3-pointers in the regular season.  With that being said they are set to play their toughest opponent in the tournament so far, Houston, on Saturday.

Houston earned themselves a two seed this year and has had an interesting road to their first Final Four since 1984.  On their road to the Final Four, they played 15 seed Cleveland State, 10 seed Rutgers, 11 seed Syracuse, and 12 seed Oregon State.  This is clearly atypical as they have yet to play a team with a seed better than 10.  Nonetheless, Houston is a great team with terrific defense.  It will be interesting to see how they defend the great shooters on Baylor.

We are set for another awesome weekend of Basketball with some great teams in the Final Four.  The winners of the games on Saturday will compete in the Championship on Monday.  Should be a great weekend!