NCAA Tournament Ends with Baylor on Top


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Written by Ryan Bennett, Sports Editor

The 2021 NCAA Tournament is now over, with Baylor beating Gonzaga in the national championship game. It was a very exciting tournament overall, though it was very different from years past. A limited number of fans were allowed at games, players and coaches had to wear masks, and safety protocols needed to be followed. The entire tournament was even held in one location, with all games being played around the Indianapolis area. After the 2020 tournament was cancelled, it felt like a breath of fresh air for March Madness to return, and the tournament surely lived up to expectations.

Arguably the story of the tournament is the run the UCLA Bruins went on. They weren’t even guaranteed a spot in the competition originally, having to participate in a play-in game to secure one of the final spots in the field. They barely defeated Michigan State in that game and advanced into the tournament as an 11 seed. From there, they won four straight games, making it to the final four, and upsetting top teams Alabama and Michigan along the way. They took on Gonzaga in their final four game, and lost in heartbreaking fashion on a buzzer beater by Gonzaga’s Jalen Suggs. Even though UCLA’s magical run came to a sudden halt, they are returning most of their players for next season and are sure to be a threat to win it all.

UCLA made it the farthest in the tournament out of all double digit seeds, but they may not have been the most surprising team. That title could go to Oral Roberts, who made the sweet sixteen and almost upset one of the best teams in the tournament, the Arkansas Razorbacks. Oral Roberts needed to win its conference championship game just to make it into the tournament, and were awarded a 15 seed by the committee, one of the lowest possible seeds. They were led by Max Abmas, who had the most points per game out of any player in college basketball. Coming into their first game against Ohio State, they were heavy underdogs, but were able to pull off a stunning upset. They then beat Florida before falling to Arkansas by only two points.

At the end of the tournament, only one team can come out victorious, and that was the Baylor Bears. Baylor was a 1 seed in the field, and had a relatively easy slate of games en route to the championship. They defeated 2 seed Houston in the final four by 19 points, and had all the momentum on their side going into the championship game against Gonzaga, who had just defeated UCLA. The game itself was never really close. From the opening tip, Baylor was in complete control over Gonzaga. Baylor’s three-guard combo of Davion Mitchell, Jared Butler, and MaCio Teague combined for 56 points as Baylor won the game by 16 points.

Overall, the 2021 NCAA Tournament was a success. There were some incredible upsets, thrilling finishes, and great performances. There had been a two-year break between games, but it felt like almost nothing changed after this year’s tournament kicked off. The 2022 college basketball season should be even more exciting, as things open up and more fans begin to attend games. Will Baylor repeat as champions in next year’s tournament, or will a new team claim victory? We’ll have to wait until next year to answer these questions, but it will be well worth the wait.


Atkins, Isaiah. “March Madness Recap: Baylor Wins First Title.” Papyrus, 7 Apr. 2021, Accessed 12 Apr. 2021.

Samuel, Chris. “2021 March Madess Recap.” The A&T Register, 6 Apr. 2021, Accessed 12 Apr. 2021.