This year’s March Madness was one of the most anticipated tournaments in recent history. While dealing with a pandemic for the past 14 months, everyone has been looking for something fun and exciting. The tournament brought all that and more. Now it’s time to sit back and review March Madness.
We’ll start with shining a massive light on the Baylor Bears. After an incredible tournament run, the Bears finished off the job with a win over undefeated Gonzaga. In the end, Baylor finally won their 1st National Championship. Throughout the first half of the regular season, many people thought Baylor had a great chance to win it all this year. That was until COVID-19 hit the Bears. In the middle of the season, Baylor had to sit out without even practicing for 3 weeks. This would hurt any team in almost any sport. Those three weeks without practicing, conditioning or any basketball-related activities hurt them big time. Baylor lost 2 of their first 3 games after coming back from COVID-19 but turned that around quickly.
On Feb. 2, Baylor was a perfect 17-0 with all but 1 win coming by double digits. That was all before a 3-week long COVID pause.
I’m not going to take away from Gonzaga’s season, but maybe we overlooked Baylor’s place as one of the best teams in college basketball history.
— Ben Stevens (@BenScottStevens) April 6, 2021
This team was led by their three-star guards all season. Davion Mitchell, MaCio Teague, and Jared Butler earned this championship. From their electric play on the offensive side to their hounding defense, this was the best guard combination in college. Along with Baylor winning their first National Championship, this was head coach Scott Drew’s first title. Drew has been coaching Baylor since 2003 and finally took his team to the promised land.
This was the toughest decision in the entire March Madness review. We saw many great players in this year’s tournament. Max Abmas led Oral Roberts to some massive upsets. Jared Butler has been the best player on a stacked Baylor team. Gonzaga’s big man Drew Timmie has been impossible to guard. Above them all, I’d have to give it to UCLA’s guard Johnny Juzang. Juzang made an impact from the First Four to the Final Four. UCLA came into this tournament as an 11-seed and had to play in the First Four round. Juzang put up 23 points in this round to start his great tournament run. Juzang would go on to score 27 against BYU, 28 against Michigan, and 29 against Gonzaga. In his six tournament games, Juzang averaged an impressive 22.8 points.
Johnny Juzang finished with 137 points in the NCAA Tournament.
That's the 2nd most points by a UCLA player in a single NCAA Tournament.
Gail Goodrich had 140 points in 1965. pic.twitter.com/RfsRREzCuj
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 4, 2021
Along with being a prolific scorer, Juzang is the leader of this team. UCLA’s tournament run was incredible. Major upsets over Alabama, Michigan, and almost Gonzaga, this Bruins team won’t be forgotten anytime soon. Without Johnny Juzang, none of it would have happened.
Pick: Johnny Juzang
This year’s tournament was filled with great games. Oral Roberts wins over Ohio State and Florida were some of the biggest upsets in recent history. Abilene Christian and North Texas shocked the world in their first-round upsets. Nothing says March more than buzzer-beaters, though. That’s why I’ll give the best game to Gonzaga and UCLA in this March Madness review. Coming into this game, Gonzaga was heavily favored to win. UCLA did not let that happen. The Bruins hopped out to an early lead and only trailed by one at halftime. After a back-and-forth second half, this game needed overtime to find a winner. Even in overtime, neither team could jump out to a big lead. With three seconds left, UCLA guard Johnny Juzang made the game-tying layup. This led to what is one of the best shots in college basketball history.
JALEN SUGGS FROM HALFCOURT FOR THE WIN 😱
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 4, 2021
We saw plenty of great games in this year’s tourney, but none of them had a better finish than this one.
Pick: Gonzaga vs UCLA
Choosing between Abilene Christian’s win over Texas and Oral Roberts win over Ohio State is very tough. In the end, I’d have to give it to Oral Roberts. Ohio State came into this tournament with Final Four and National Championship expectations. That was very short-lived. Oral Roberts shocked everyone in a 75-72 win over the 2-seeded Buckeyes. This team was electric to watch. Oral Roberts was led by Max Abmas, who is the leading scorer in all of college basketball. Ohio State was down for most of the game before making a late run to force overtime. In overtime, Ohio State had a chance to tie the game at the buzzer but missed, giving Oral Roberts the win. Oral Roberts went on to upset Florida in the second round and continue their Cinderella run.
ORAL ROBERTS UPSETS OHIO STATE 🤯
No. 15 seed is moving on pic.twitter.com/IzWU8uUy84
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 19, 2021
There aren’t many better sporting events than March Madness. We saw some of the biggest upsets with Oral Roberts, Abilene Christian, and UCLA. We saw some of the best players in Cade Cunningham, Jared Butler, and Max Abmas. After last year’s college season was canceled, this year’s tournament was worth the wait. Now that this year’s March Madness review is done, it’s time to look forward to next year.