The marquee men’s college basketball matchup between Gonzaga and Baylor that everybody has waited all season for is finally here.
The undefeated Zags, who were ranked No. 1 from start to finish, take on 27-2 Baylor, which was No. 2 for most of the season, in the national championship game at 6:20 p.m. Monday night.
To get ready for the monumental title game, 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake and Stacy brought back FOX Sports’ Mark Titus and Tate Frazier, who host the college basketball-focused Titus and Tate podcast, to break it down on Monday afternoon.
You can listen to the full segment in the player below. After that, let’s take a look at a couple of things Titus and Tate said that stood out.
Gonzaga vs. Baylor is a long time coming
It’s safe to say Gonzaga-Baylor is a matchup that basketball fans have been waiting to see for a very long time.
The Zags and Bears were actually scheduled to meet earlier this season – in Indianapolis, the same city where Monday’s championship battle is taking place, no less. Positive COVID-19 cases in Gonzaga’s traveling party resulting in the game getting canceled just hours ahead of tipoff, however. And that wasn’t even the first time an expected Gonzaga-Baylor didn’t happen in the last year. The two teams were among the favorites to win the 2020 NCAA Tournament that was called off due to the pandemic.
“This is two years in the making,” Titus said.
It should live up to the billing, too.
“This is going to be a chess match, but also the players are incredible,” he said. “Corey Kispert is the face of Gonzaga basketball, he was (the Bulldogs’) first-team All-American, Jared Butler’s the first-team All-American for Baylor, and yet neither one of those guys are currently the best players on their team because (Gonzaga forward) Drew Timme is playing out of his mind and (Baylor guard) Davion Mitchell is playing out of his mind. So that’s the level of talent we’re talking about. Meanwhile, Jalen Suggs is like the MVP.
“The talent is insane, the coaching is going to be insane. I cannot be more excited.”
The key matchup to watch
Both Baylor and Gonzaga are known for their offensive depth, which allows them to not have to rely upon one player. There’s one position where the Zags may have an edge, however, and it’s in the post.
Drew Timme has been the star for Gonzaga throughout the tournament, scoring in double-figures in all five games so far, including 22 or more in each of the last four. The 6-foot-10 forward has already handled tough opposing post players like USC’s 7-foot Evan Mobley, and Baylor may struggle to find an answer for him, according to Frazier.
“Whoever Timme’s matching up against, that’s the real matchup to watch, and I think Timme has that advantage,” Frazier said. “We saw him go up against a potential No. 1 pick in Evan Mobley and we saw what he was able to do in that situation (25 points, five rebounds, four assists, three steals in an 85-66 Elite Eight win). I think Timme’s the real X-factor in this game and I wouldn’t be surprised in the end if Drew Timme is the (Most Outstanding Player) of this Final Four.”