For just the ninth time in NCAA Tournament history, it will be a matchup of No. 1 seeds in the national championship game as Baylor meets unbeaten Gonzaga on Monday from Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. CBS has the tipoff at 9:20 p.m. ET with the Zags as 4.5-point favorites on the William Hill Sportsbook college basketball odds and an Over/Under total of 159. On the moneyline, the Zags are -200 and Bears +175.
These schools were set to meet Dec. 5 also in Indianapolis and Gonzaga had closed as a 3-point favorite then with a total of 155 points, but the game ended up being canceled for COVID reasons. The Zags are 5-0 all-time vs. the Bears. They last played in the second round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament and No. 1 seed Gonzaga beat No. 9 Baylor 83-71. There are a few key players on both sides still around from then.
Neither Gonzaga nor Baylor has won a national championship. They are each 4-1 against the spread in this tournament.
Nearly 60 percent of all money wagered at William Hill on this game's spread is on Baylor as are 52 percent of tickets sold. On the moneyline, it's an even more pronounced Bears lean with 70 percent of all the money wagered and 62 percent of tickets. The Over 159 points is taking 53 percent of the money and 58 percent of tickets.
The two biggest bets placed on the national championship thus far at William Hill are both on the Bears. An $82,500 wager came in on Baylor +5 (-110) for a total potential payout of $157,500 and $50,000 was wagered on Baylor moneyline +180 for a total potential payout of $140,000.
Gonzaga was the No. 1 team in the preseason AP Top 25 and stayed there all season. Baylor was the preseason No. 2 and was there virtually all season. Since the preseason poll began in 1962, this is the fifth time that the preseason AP No. 1 and No. 2 have met in the national title game. The preseason No. 2 won all four previous matchups, last Duke over Arizona in 2001.
Baylor has won 23 straight non-conference games with an average margin of victory of 21.6 points dating to November 2020. Gonzaga has won a national-best 35 straight games (14 in a row on a neutral court), with its last loss on Feb. 22, 2020, at BYU. The Zags are the first team to enter the national championship game unbeaten since Indiana State in 1979 and looking to become the first unbeaten champion since Indiana in 1976.
Coach Mark Few's team is first in the nation in scoring offense (91.6), field goal percentage (55.0), two-point percentage (63.9), scoring margin (22.5) and points in the paint (49.6). Coach Scott Drew's team leads the nation in 3-point percentage (.412) and has led by at least four points in all 59 games over the last two seasons. No wonder North Carolina reportedly has interest in both coaches to replace the retired Roy Williams.
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