MARCH MADNESS – APRIL 5
By Leo Haggerty
ONE SHINING MOMENT IS OVER
Well, the 2021 Madness has concluded. So, let me give you a quick synopsis of what transpired in both of the Final Four semifinals contests as well as the finals.
I’ll start with the Women’s side of the tournament. Stanford survived a couple of last second point blank shots by South Carolina and the Cardinal held on for a 66-65 over the Gamecocks.
In the nightcap, Arizona pulled the shocker of all the Final Four tilts by surprising Connecticut. The Wildcats eliminated the overall #1 seed Huskies 69-59 to set up an all PAC 12 final in San Antonio.
The women’s final did not disappoint when it came to excitement. With under a minute left in regulation, UA star Aari McDonald cut the Cardinal lead to one. After a SU turnover due to a shot clock violation, a double teamed McDonald attempted a contested jumper that was off the mark and that gave Stanford a thrilling 54-53 triumph.
In the Men’s tourney, Baylor easily disposed of Houston in the first semifinal game. The Bears pulled away from an early 8-all tie with a 14-3 run and never looked back topping the Cougars 78-59.
In the second tilt, UCLA gave overall #1 seed Gonzaga all they could handle. In a game for the ages, the Bulldogs Jalen Suggs banked in a runner from just inside half court to top the Bruins 93-90 in overtime as time expired.
That set up the matchup ever hoops fan was hoping for but it wasn’t even close. In a incredible shooting exhibition, Baylor surged to a early 16-6 advantage and Gonzaga never got closer than nine points the rest of the game. When the dust settled, the Bears, who were 10-of-23 behind the arc, defeated the Zags 86-70 In Indianapolis.
Here’s one stat that jumps right out at you. When the Waco squad did miss, they got the rebound on 14 occasions as compared to one second chance board for Gonzaga.
There is no doubt in my mind that Baylor was the better team. Gonzaga did not lose. The Bears flat out won convincingly.
So, there you have it. 2021 is in the books. Now, we need to wait and see what Covid modifications the NCAA will decide to keep in 2022. That will be very interesting.