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How Gonzaga reached the 2021 NCAA men’s basketball national championship game

One of the best shots in the history of college basketball goes down in overtime, and the Bulldogs will play for the ring on Monday night.

The Gonzaga Bulldogs came into the NCAA Tournament as the top-seeded team overall in the bracket, and because of winning what might be the best Final Four game in the history of college basketball, they’ll face the Baylor Bears on Monday night for the national championship.

Here’s how the Bulldogs got to the biggest game of the season.

Regular season

The Bulldogs went unbeaten throughout the regular season and still has just one victory that did not come by a double-digit margin, a five-point win over the West Virginia Mountaineers in early December. Gonzaga went through a COVID-19 pause after that game with more than two weeks between games, and had a 1-vs-2 matchup against the Baylor Bears canceled, which would’ve been fantastic to see. The Bulldogs were not tested much in the West Coast Conference, but they challenged themselves and beat power programs Kansas, Auburn, West Virginia, Iowa, and Virginia in the regular season.

NCAA Tournament

Gonzaga cruised through their four NCAA Tournament games, jumping on their opponents early and cruising to easy victories. The Bulldogs’ closest win came in the second round to the No. 8 seed Oklahoma Sooners in a 16-point victory. Add them to No. 16 Norfolk State, No. 5 Creighton, and No. 6 USC, Gonzaga outscored their four opponents by nearly 96 points combined.

And then they played a 93-90 overtime classic that will never be forgotten by college basketball fans anywhere. Drew Timme had 25 points on 11-14 shooting, and Jalen Suggs made a 40-foot three-pointer that instantly entered the indelible images in the history of college basketball.

Key players

The Bulldogs have the No. 1 offense in college basketball, and their players run it so well. Their leading scorers are forwards Drew Timme and Corey Kispert, who average 19 and 18.9 points per game, respectively. Timme also leads the team in rebounding with 7.2 boards per game. Freshman guard Jalen Suggs averages 4.5 assists and 1.9 steals, both of which lead the team to go along with 14 points per game. This team is loaded with talent that works incredibly well together in Mark Few’s system.