These are the three keys to victory for Baylor if they want to beat Gonzaga in the National Championship Game.
The stage is set for an epic national championship game between Baylor and Gonzaga. The Bears had a much easier time getting to the final game, throttling Houston to easily advance to Monday night, while the Bulldogs needed a buzzer-beater in overtime to knock off 11-seed UCLA.
That performance from the Bruins showcased that Gonzaga isn’t unbeatable, a fact that Scott Drew will emphasize to his troops as they prepare for their showdown with the Bulldogs on Monday night. Let’s take a look at three keys to victory for the Bears to cut down the nets and claim their first national championship.
National Championship: 3 keys to victory for Baylor against Gonzaga
3. Don’t let Drew Timme beat you
Jalen Suggs and Corey Kispert draw all the national headlines but Gonzaga’s best player in the NCAA Tournament has been Drew Timme. The sophomore forward has led the Bulldogs in points in each of Gonzaga’s last four games, including a clutch 25 point performance against UCLA in the Final Four.
Baylor isn’t a particularly big team so they will have to be careful not to just let Gonzaga feed the ball to Timme in the post so he can dominate down low. The key here for the Bears is to try and push Timme off his spot and ensure that he can’t have easy access to the glass.
2. Make your 3-pointers
Gonzaga is an offensive juggernaut that can score 85 points at the drop of a hat, meaning it will take a brilliant shooting performance to keep pace with them. Baylor is capable of doing that but their best chance to win is if they can put together a brilliant performance from beyond the arc.
The 3-pointer is a major weapon for the Bears, who knocked down 11 3-pointers against Houston in the Final Four and shoot 41.8 percent from three-point land on the year. Baylor will need to make at least 12 triples to give themselves a fighting chance in this game.
1. Don’t let Gonzaga get out in transition
While Baylor will never be a team that can deliberately slow the ball down as much as UCLA did against Gonzaga, there is a part of Mick Cronin’s game plan that they can duplicate. The Bruins made it a point not to let the Bulldogs race out for easy points in transition, forcing Gonzaga to run its offense out of the halfcourt and take more time to score.
Baylor has the athletes to get back on defense and prevent Gonzaga from racing to the basket the second they secure a defensive rebound. Limiting the number of easy transition buckets that the Bulldogs can rack up is the most important thing that the Bears will have to work on over the next two days to give themselves a chance to win the national championship.
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