The Final Four 2021 is finally upon on us. Nearly 24 months have passed since Virginia walked off the court at U.S. Bank Stadium champions of the NCAA tournament. After the last year which took so much from us, March Madness included, we are all set to crown the next king of college hoops.
Of the four teams that remain in the tournament, only one has ever won an NCAA title before. Two seed Houston and top seeds Gonzaga and Baylor are all searching for their first championship in their programs history. UCLA on the other hand are searching to add to their all time record of 11 title trophies displayed in Pauley Pavilion.
Any way you look at it history will be made this weekend.
When is the Final Four 2021?
On Saturday 3rd March will be Final Four 2021.
The first semifinal between Baylor and Houston will tip off at 17:14 pm ET
The second semifinal between is scheduled to tip off at 20:34 pm ET
Where is 2021 Final Four live?
The entire Tournament has been played in Indianapolis, with six different venues, but the grandest of them all, Lucas Oil Stadium, will host the 2021 Final Four and Championship game. It will be the third time the the home of the Indianapolis Colts will set the biggest stage in college basketball.
1. Baylor Bears
The Bears were another popular pick among bracket fillers across the country. After a 17-0 start to the season, covid put a halt in their season. The three week break barley broke them from their stride. They finished the regular season with two losses, but lost in the Big 12 tournament championship game.
Scott Drew’s side bounced back and have rolled through the first two weekends of the tournament, and the Bears are back in the Final Four for the first time since 1950. Jared Butler is the leading scorer for Baylor at 16.5 points a game. But Davion Mitchell has caught fire at the right time for the Bears averaging 13 points and 5 assists in the last four games.
Both will be instrumental if Baylor go on to win their first NCAA title.
2. Gonzaga Bulldogs
The Bulldogs came into the March Madness as the odds on favorite after a perfect regular season, and winning the West Coast Conference Tournament. Their resume this year is flawless. Perhaps the only reservations people may have has about the Zags is their failure to win it all despite being in the running year after year after year.
Mark Few’s side have been mainstays in the tournament since 1999. A streak of 22 years running, but the closest they got to championship glory was in 2017 when they were defeated by North Carolina in the Championship game.
This year it will be up to Corey Kispert and Drew Timme to lead Gonzaga to the promise land. The inside out duo have been sensational in the tournament. Kispert is a devastating shooter from the perimeter and a player of the year candidate. But It’s been Timme who has been stealing the headlines over the last month averaging 21 points and 7.5 rebounds.
3. UCLA Bruins
The Dark Horse of the tournament, but with the history and legacy the Bruins have in the tournament can we even call them a Dark Horse? The 11 seed struggled during the regular season at times, finishing with nine losses before being knocked out of the Pac 12 Tournament by Oregon State.
Since being taken to overtime in the First Four game against Michigan State, (technically before the tournament had started, at least before the 64 team bracket was set) Mick Cronin’s side have rolled past the competition, including 2 seed Alabama and 1 seed Michigan. They are led by the sharp shooting Johnny Juzang, who after fouling out against Alabama in the Sweet 16 put up 28 points (more than half of UCLA’s 51 points).
UCLA has a chance to make history by being the lowest seeded team to ever win the title, while winning their 12th National Championship in program history.
4. Houston Cougars
After a half decade of dominance in the early 80’s the Houston Cougars are back in the Final Four. Kelvin Sampson led the Cougars to the best record in the American Athletic Conference, and a conference tournament title after thumping Cincinnati in the final.
Houston has perhaps had the easiest run of any Final Four team in college basketball history, if you go by opponents seeding. They are the first team ever to reach the Final Four without having to beat a team ranked higher that a 10 seed.
The Cougars have one of the best offenses in the nation and are led by top scorer Quentin Grimes who is averaging 18 ppg in the tournament.
The Cougars went to three consecutive Final Fours from 82-84 but were never able to take home the title. Sampson and Grimes may have something to say about that when it’s all said and done.