A perfect season is on the line in Monday night’s men’s NCAA Tournament championship game. The final showdown in the NCAA’s men’s March Madness tournament takes place tonight.
Not since 1976, when Bob Knight’s Indiana team went 32-0, has a Division I men’s college basketball team finished unbeaten. Following its buzzer-beating Final Four win over UCLA, 31-0 Gonzaga has a chance to make history.
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Standing in the way is a worthy opponent and national title favorite in its own right – Baylor. The No. 1 seeded Bears (27-2) thrashed Houston in Saturday’s early Final Four game and have what it takes to spoil the Zags’ perfect season.
Baylor is peaking at the right time
Baylor fell out of rhythm in February, with three games canceled and three postponed because of COVID-19. Had that not happened, we could have two undefeated teams. Baylor’s two losses are deceiving in that light.
It’s fair to say Baylor played OK in its first three NCAA Tournament games, but we finally saw what a full-throttle Bears team looked like Saturday vs. Houston. When coach Scott Drew’s team is firing from beyond the arc, it’s hard to counter. The Bears lead the nation in three-point shooting, and it’s not just All-American Jared Butler doing the damage. Davion Mitchell and MaCio Teague are deadly from deep, while Adam Flagler and Matthew Mayer also contribute. More than that, this is a stifling defensive team. Houston’s nation-leading defense was hyped before Saturday, but we saw Baylor look more dominant on the defensive end, forcing turnovers and slowing the Cougars’ halfcourt offense.
Gonzaga recovering from UCLA game
While one school of thought is that Gonzaga finally got tested in its down-to-the-wire win over UCLA, another is that Baylor has been battle-tested more by playing in the Big 12 Conference. The Bears won 13 games against opponents ranked in the top-30 of NET since January. Gonzaga played five. The Bulldogs’ scoring margin is 22.5, while the Bears’ margin is 17.5. The type of game the Zags got against UCLA is what Baylor experienced against Kansas, West Virginia, Texas and Oklahoma State.
The early rounds of the 2021 NCAA men’s basketball tournament earned the name March Madness with a whirlwind of upsets and surprises. After a flurry of additional shocks in the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight, and a near miracle Saturday night in the Final Four, the stage is set for men’s basketball’s final game Monday night. As some bracket builders predicted, tonight’s title game features a battle of two of the top teams in the tourney, when the Baylor Bears take on the Gonzaga Bulldogs.
Baylor enters the contest having demolished Houston in their Final Four game. Gonzaga, meanwhile, had its first real scare of the season Saturday night. After entering the game with an NCAA Division I record streak of 27 straight wins by double digits, the Bulldogs needed a buzzer-beater to outlast UCLA in an overtime classic.
The biggest game of the Big Dance airs tonight on CBS at 9:20 p.m. ET (6:20 p.m. PT). Here’s what you need to know about the 2021 men’s tournament.
When is the championship game?
Tip-off for tonight’s contest is set for 9:20 p.m. ET (6:20 p.m. PT) on CBS.
Who were the top seeds, where can I find the bracket?
Gonzaga, Baylor, Michigan and Illinois were the top teams in the tournament, each a No. 1 seed in their respective regions. After Illinois was knocked out early in the tourney, Michigan lost to UCLA in the Elite Eight, leaving just Gonzaga and Baylor as the only top seeds standing heading into the Final Four.
Those two teams will play for the title Monday night, but those looking to relive the tourney can find the full bracket on the NCAA’s website.
Can I watch the tournament live on TV without a cable subscription?
Live TV streaming services YouTube TV, Hulu Plus Live TV, FuboTV and AT&T TV all offer CBS, which is what you’ll need to catch the final game. They start at $65 per month ($70 per month for AT&T). Cheaper streaming services like Sling TV’s $35 per month Orange and Blue packages do not have CBS.
You can also get CBS with an antenna or with Paramount Plus, the new name for CBS All Access, a streaming service that runs $6 per month.
The game will be available to stream on the NCAA’s March Madness Live website and app, with the tournament’s CBS-broadcasted games — including tonight’s championship decider — available for free without needing to first authenticate with a cable provider.
FuboTV costs $60 a month and includes CBS. Click here to see which local channels you get.
You can watch the CBS games on Paramount Plus (formerly known as CBS All Access), if you live in one of these 206 markets where the service offers live TV. Paramount Plus costs $6 a month or $10 a month for no commercials.
AT&T TV’s basic, $70-a-month package includes CBS. You can use its channel lookup tool to see if you get a live feed of CBS and the other local networks in your ZIP code.
Hulu With Live TV
Hulu With Live TV costs $65 a month and includes CBS. Click the “View all channels in your area” link on its welcome page to see which local channels are offered in your ZIP code.
YouTube TV costs $65 a month and includes CBS. Plug in your ZIP code on its welcome page to see what live, local networks are available where you live.
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