Editor’s Note: Welcome to Morning Madness, SI’s daily newsletter during the NCAA tournament. We’ll provide you with information, analysis, picks, and more from our college hoop experts. sign up here.
The 2021 men’s Final Four is ready, and heading into Saturday night’s games (No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 11 UCLA; No. 1 Baylor vs. No. 2 Houston) in Indianapolis, we’re in the power rankings. of the quartet based on how they are playing right now and who they have beaten in the tournament. (For the women’s Final Four qualification, click here).
1. Gonzaga: What else can I say right now? The Zags have trashed everyone in their path so far and have barely broken a sweat as they continue the story. If even 7-footer freshman Evan Mobley couldn’t stop Drew Timme, who will? Look, nothing is a guarantee in March, but this is Gonzaga’s title to lose.
2. Baylor: The Bears haven’t won their tournament games by as many as Gonzaga, but they haven’t really been threatened either. All season, this has seemed like the team with the best chance to go head-to-head with the Bulldogs, and it may come down to that Monday night. Baylor’s offense isn’t on the level of the Zags, but it’s very good in its own right, with a plethora of 3-point shooters and Jared Butler, Davion Mitchell and MaCio Teague as a killer trio. Of course, to play for the title, you must first beat a stingy Houston roster.
3. UCLA: On the season, Houston has been the best team, but the Bruins have been playing over their heads this tournament, including capturing arguably the most impressive pair of wins (over No. 1 Michigan and No. 2 Alabama) , according to the opponent, from anyone in the men’s field of 68. That’s worth something, although Johnny Juzang & Co. received the unfortunate prize of facing Gonzaga next. It will take their biggest miracle yet to pull it off, and it will take a lot more offense than the 51 points they scored against Michigan.
4. Houston: The Cougars may be last here, but they certainly seem to have a better chance against Baylor than UCLA against the Zags. It’s true that Houston has yet to play a single-digit seed in this tournament thanks to a serendipitous draw, but it would be a mistake to overlook this team based on that. The Cougars have been a consistent top 10, if not top five, team all season, and their defensive and offensive rebounding skills are strong calling cards.
The legendary North Carolina coach was honored by his later years on the job and showed how much it affected him as he said goodbye. (By Pat Forde)
UNC’s search for a replacement for Roy Williams will be one of the most fascinating coach searches in a long time. (By Pat Forde)
At a meeting between #NotNCAAProperty player leaders and Mark Emmert, the group made requests regarding NIL, Title IX and more. (By Ross Dellenger)
What does Baylor have to do to reach the men’s title? Preview of the bears. (By Kevin Sweeney)
Does UCLA have any magic left as it prepares to face the giant Gonzaga? (By Kevin Sweeney)
The best we saw
The Lucas Oil Stadium field for the men’s Final Four is ready!
Pick ‘Em: Men’s Final Four
No. 1 Baylor over No. 2 Houston: The Cougars will get theirs on the offensive boards, but the Bears and their dangerous shooters will prevail in the end.
No. 1 Gonzaga over No. 11 UCLA: Many have tried to unseat the Zags this season and all have failed. The magical career of the Bruins ends here.
He may not have elite physical tools, but rumors will be generated sooner rather than later about Drew Timme’s prospects in the NBA. Timme is simply too productive to ignore; He has been the best player on the court in three consecutive NCAA tournament games and continues to amaze with his pole moves, touch and passing instincts. Timme is at the top of KenPom’s Player of the Year metric for a reason – he’s special. –Kevin Sweeney
On the buzzer
We only have six games left of the college basketball season (four combined men’s and women’s Final Four games; two title games) before the long offseason wait for 2021-22. Enjoy them!
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.