The Baylor Bears and Gonzaga Bulldogs were ranked as the top two teams in college basketball for nearly the entire season. As rare as that is, it might be even rarer to see the two teams widely thought of as the top two in the sport advance all the way to the national championship game. Baylor had the less dramatic of the Final Four victories, but several players will need to play key roles if they hope to give the Gonzaga Bulldogs their first loss while the Bears claim a national championship.
Just like Gonzaga, the Bears have what they can claim a big three. They consist of guards Jared Butler, MaCio Teague and Davion Mitchell, all of which are averaging at least 14 points per game. Upperclassmen leadership is always huge come NCAA Tournament time especially at the guard position, and that’s where Baylor is stacked with Butler and Mitchell playing their junior seasons with Teague as a senior. The talent of this trio makes them nearly impossible to guard.
Role Player to watch
While the three players above get a lot of recognition and rightfully so, Adam Flagler plays a key role and is a big reason for the team’s success. He is the team’s fourth leading scorer with nine points per game and while he doesn’t shoot the ball a ton, Flagler is knocking down 42.2% of his shots from beyond the arc. He also shoots 86% from the free throw line to lead the team and rarely turns the ball over with just one in team’s last four games.
Who needs to shine
For Baylor to take down the undefeated Bulldogs, Jared Butler is going to need to have a big-time performance. He is the team’s leading scorer with 16.6 points per game, and he shoots well from all areas. Butler knocks down 47.2% of field goals, 41.5% from the three-point line and 76.5% on free throws. He is active on defense with a team-leading two steals per game and if he’s able to pester Gonzaga guards on a regular basis, Baylor very well could find themselves as national champions on Monday night.