The Baylor Bears are 27-2 have reached the pinnacle of college basketball, and will play for the 2021 NCAA men’s basketball national championship after a 78-59 win over the Houston Cougars on Monday night in Indianapolis.
How did the Bears do it, and how many times have they been a part of this tournament before? We take a look at their path to get here, and their history getting this far.
How Baylor made the 2021 National Championship Game
Baylor easily knocked off No. 16 Hartford 79-55 and No. 9 Wisconsin 76-63 in the first two rounds. They then had no issues in the South Regional as well, beating No. 5 Villanova 62-51 and No. 3 Arkansas 81-72 to reach the Final Four.
The nation’s leading three-point percentage team then dominated No. 2 Houston 78-59 to make the title game.
When did Baylor last appear in the Final Four?
It was 1950 the last time the Bears made it to this stage, and that was so long ago the NIT was actually the better tournament and was considered the real national championship.
Head coach Bill Henderson and his Bears were just 14-13 that season, but at the time the NCAA Tournament field was based on geography instead of seeding. 6’3 center Don Heathington led all scorers with 13.2 points per game. They beat BYU and the No. 1 seed Bradley Braves before bowing out to North Carolina State in Madison Square Garden in the Final Four.
How many times has Baylor appeared in the National Championship?
This will be the first chance for Baylor to win the national championship, but it’s the third appearance in the Final Four. The Bears reached the Final Four in 1948 and 1950, both of which were held at Madison Square Garden.