Gonzaga vs. Baylor: Score updates, live analysis from 2021 men's NCAA championship game

With the 2021 men's NCAA basketball championship on the line, two No. 1 seeds will do battle in Indianapolis. One seeks the immortality that comes with an undefeated season. The other stands in the way of that dream while writing its own history.

Gonzaga (31-0) vs. Baylor (27-2) has all the makings of a men's national championship classic.

It's the first time since 2005, when North Carolina held off Illinois, that the top two seeds in the field of 68 will meet in the championship. And with all of the upsets in the 2021 men's NCAA tournament, it almost feels like this matchup was meant to be.

Follow along with USA TODAY Sports for the latest updates and analysis.

Key halftime stats

3-point shooting: Baylor 7-for-12, Gonzaga 1-for-6

Free throws: Gonzaga 12-13, Baylor 2-2

Field goals: Baylor 19-for-38, Gonzaga 2-for-22

Assists: Baylor 12, Gonzaga 9

Offensive rebounds: Baylor 9, Gonzaga 3

Baylor 47, Gonzaga 37 at halftime

This is why Gonzaga is the No. 1 overall seed. It felt like Baylor ran the Bulldogs out of the gym, but they used a 9-2 run over the final minutes of the first half to cut the deficit to 10 points by halftime.

Baylor foul trouble

For all of the talk about Jalen Suggs picking up two quick fouls, Baylor isn't in an exactly clean position, either. Jonathan Tchama Tchatchoua (3), Flo Thamba (2), Jared Butler (2) and Mark Vital (2) all were whistled multiple times in the first 20 minutes.

Gonzaga goes zone

Gonzaga coach Mark Few has his guys playing in a 1-3-1 zone now to throw the Bears off their game. Baylor has answered by finding players in the high post and knocking down mid-range jumpers. We'll see if Few has another answer.

Gonzaga hanging around at under-4

Even though Baylor basically has twice as many shot attempts, Gonzaga has stuck around and cut the lead for 12 after the deficit hit 19 at one point. Drew Timme leads the Bulldogs with eight points, and all starters now have a field goal.

Zags needs Suggs to stay in game

Jalen Suggs -- the star of the Zags' win over UCLA with an epic buzzer-beater -- picked up two early fouls when things already weren't going Gonzaga's way.

Coach Mark Few had to put his star point guard back in the game, urging him to play smart, because without him this game will be over -- really over. It's already looking that way with Davion Mitchell and Jared Butler shooting lights out and the Bears' smothering defense making them look like the clear-cut favorite over an undefeated squad.

Suggs is up to three turnovers, so he'll have to be more careful if Few is going to keep him out there.

-- Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY Sports college basketball reporter

Bulldogs looking tired?

One has to wonder how fatigued the Bulldogs are after their overtime, buzzer-beater victory over UCLA hardly 48 hours ago. All five of Gonzaga’s starters played for more than 37 minutes, with three players (Kispert, Nembhard and Ayayi) on the court for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, Baylor – which breezed past Houston in its semifinal matchup – looks fresh, especially Jared Butler, who has 10 points and has made all four of his shots.

The Bears started a perfect 5-for-5 (Butler with two) from 3-point range.

Baylor keeping Gonzaga down at under-12

There is plenty of game left, but a 15-point lead (23-8) eight minutes into the contest is a situation Baylor certainly would have signed up for before tipoff.

Gonzaga has five turnovers thus far. Baylor already has 17 shot attempts, compared with Gonzaga's seven.

Gonzaga struggling early

The bad news? It took Gonzaga four minutes and 35 seconds to make its first field goal, a 3-pointer by All-American Corey Kispert.

The even worse news for them? That is still the Bulldogs’ lone field goal, and they trail 16-4.

That’s because guards Jared Butler and Davion Mitchell are off to fast starts (seven points apiece), which is a bad sign for Gonzaga with Jalen Suggs on the bench with two early fouls.

Baylor bursts out to lead

What a start for the Bears. With intensity on the defensive end (two Gonzaga turnovers) and aggressiveness on offense (four offensive rebounds), the Bears scored the first nine points of the game. At 9-0, the Bulldogs faced their largest deficit of the tournament early.

Jalen Suggs has picked up his second foul three minutes and four seconds into the game.

Indianapolis frontline workers sing national anthem

A well-done anthem by frontline workers (police officers, firefighters, etc.) from the area. Jim Nantz is on the public-address system announcing the starting lineups. It's almost gametime.

Baylor trying to make Texas-sized history

The last men's basketball team from Texas to win the NCAA championship was the historic 1966 Texas Western (now University of Texas-El Paso) squad, famous for being the first all-Black starting five to win it all.

Starting lineups

Gonzaga: G Jalen Suggs, G Andrew Nembhard, G Joel Ayayi, F Corey Kispert, F Drew Timme

Butler: G Jared Butler, G Davion Mitchell, G MaCio Teague, F Mark Vital, F Flo Thamba

The referees: Bo Boroski, Keith Kimble, Randy McCall. It is McCall's second title game, and the first for Boroski and Kimble.

Half of Lucas Oil Stadium in use

With social distancing rules in effect in the stands at Lucas Oil Stadium, it would have been a vacuous scene had the entire stadium been illuminated, as was the case in previous Final Fours at the venue.

Instead, the NCAA has sectioned off nearly half of the stadium to create a more cozy environment. Here's a bird's-eye view.

No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 1 Baylor

Time: 9:20 p.m. Location: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis.


Announcers: Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery, Grant Hill, Tracy Wolfson.

How to stream: March Madness Live, fuboTV, Paramount+.

Odds: Gonzaga -4.5; over/under: 159.5

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Gonzaga-Baylor March Madness: Men's NCAA championship live updates

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