The last second success of the Zags on the Cinderella Ucla splendid epilogue to a day that gave the world back the March Madness
We have the collegiate final we’ve all been waiting for: Gonzaga against Baylor. The favorites of the eve, the first two teams of the ranking drawn up by the NCAA among the 68 participants in the Big Dance. The big challenge is on Monday at 3.20 Italian time. But the semifinals were more than just a delicious appetizer. Gonzaga-UCLA immediately became an instant classic, one of those iconic matches that will be talked about in 20 years. Time for the 5 sentences of the night, to talk about what it was and imagine what it could be, in Indianapolis …
We missed her 12 months ago. Tournament canceled due to a pandemic, then, for the first time since World War II. Spring madness is back in a big way. Gonzaga-UCLA is the epitome of what the Ncaa Tournament represents with its extraordinary formula inside / out: all in 40 ‘of basketball. Score tied 15 times, the team in the lead changed 19 times. Until the success with a winning table shot at the last second of the Zags. The surrounding atmosphere at the Lucas Oil Stadium, 8,000 spectators and many cardboard reproductions of fans, remains mortifying, for the student-athletes, compared to the triumph of colors and warmth of the past. But always better than nothing.
Gonzaga-Baylor should have been played at the beginning of December, on a neutral pitch, in Indianapolis. Then pandemic / anti-pandemic protocol canceled the match. This time we will play. Now as then, the Zags will be favorites. 4.5 points, according to bettors. But a monologue is not conceivable. Gonzaga to win the first national title in his history, and to rewrite it as an unbeaten one, he will have to bring out the best. Because the Bears of Waco, Texas have shown they can pull out claws.
Jalen Suggs, Gonzaga’s guard, prospect from the first 5 calls to the next NBA Draft, got the ball delivered with 3.3 ”to play in extra time from under his basket, on 90 all. He ate the field with long strides, he shot long before the 3-point line. And found at the end of the table carom for the triple that sent Gonzaga unbeaten to the final. The Zags are the first to do so from Larry Bird’s Indiana State in 1979, then defeated by Magic Johnson’s Michigan State (the last undefeated champion team in 1976, Indiana coached by Coach Knight). Suggs’s shot enters the galaxy of those who have made the history of the Tournament: as Laettner for Duke against Uconn and Kentucky, as Jenkins for Villanova against UNC. Iconic, unforgettable.
UCLA, the blue-blooded basketball university of Los Angeles, has made many fall in love in Indiana. Seeded number 11, as many as his national titles, he was able to start from the First Four and get to the Final Four. Nobody gave her a chance of success against the battleship Zags and instead the Bruins came close to the feat. Juzang, the leader of the Californians, was called a dubious breakthrough foul at the last second, at the end of regulation time. The whistle could also work in his favor and would have meant 99% of the company. The underdog always fascinates, and the Big Dance is historically the tournament of surprises. UCLA magically played the role of pooper and Juzang, a transfer from Kentucky, has seen his prices rise like no other since the start of the Big Dance. Bravissimo, he had also scored the 90 even basket.
Still inebriated by the emotions of the second semifinal, there is no risk of forgetting the first. Baylor put on a defensive show, in the first half, in the Texan derby against Houston. He kept the Cougars at 20 points in the first 20 minutes of play, dominating. And then being able to downshift gears, administer the energies in view of the match and close ahead 78-59. The Bears boast 27 wins and 2 losses as a record this season. Experts, physically tough. They defend strong and in attack they have quality guards to rely on, Butler and Mitchell. With the addition of Mayer, long white who brings points “expressed” from the bench
April 4 – 5:50 pm
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The 5 sentences on March Madness waiting for the Gonzaga-Baylor final