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Gonzaga vs. Baylor odds, picks, predictions for national championship game

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Gonzaga vs. Baylor odds, picks, predictions for national championship game

No. 1 Gonzaga will meet No. 1 Baylor in the 2021 NCAA men’s basketball national championship game Monday.  

Tipoff is scheduled for 9:20 p.m. ET at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The game will be televised by CBS. 

MORE MARCH MADNESS: Live scores | Updated bracket | TV schedule

Gonzaga (31-0) won the West Region under coach Mark Few and advanced to the championship game with a thrilling 93-90 overtime victory over No. 11 UCLA on Saturday. Jalen Suggs’ buzzer-beating 3-pointer was the highlight, and the Bulldogs hope to carry that momentum into the championship game. Suggs, Drew Timme and Corey Kispert are All-America playmakers trying to cap that perfect season.

Baylor (27-2) won the South Region under coach Scott Drew and advanced to the championship game with a 78-59 victory over No. 2 Houston in the Final Four. The Bears are in the national championship game for the first time since 1948. Baylor’s guard trio of Jared Butler, MaCio Teague and Davion Mitchell hit double figures against the Cougars.  

Here’s everything to know about betting on Gonzaga vs. Baylor in the 2021 NCAA Tournament, including updated odds, trends and our prediction for the Final Four game. 

Gonzaga vs. Baylor odds  

  • Spread: Gonzaga -5 
  • Over/under: 160 
  • Moneyline: Gonzaga -245, Baylor +188 

MORE MARCH MADNESS: Live scores | Updated bracket | TV schedule

Three betting trends to watch   

— The Bulldogs have been favored in every game and are 16-13-2 ATS this season. Gonzaga is 5-1 ATS against top-25 opponents and 4-1 ATS in this year’s tournament.   

— Baylor is 19-10 ATS this season, but this is its first game as an underdog. Baylor is 4-1 ATS in this year’s tournament.  

— Baylor is 10-3 ATS and 13-0 S/U in nonconference games. Gonzaga is 9-5 ATS and 14-0 S/U in nonconference games.  

Final Four history  

Gonzaga is in its second national championship game; the first was a 71-65 loss to North Carolina on April 3, 2017. The Bulldogs can become the first undefeated Division I men’s basketball team since Indiana finished 32-0 in the 1975-76 season. Baylor will play in its second title game. The Bears lost to Kentucky 58-42 in the 1948 men’s national championship.  

Gonzaga key players

Timme (19.0 ppg) has been a force throughout the tournament. He scored 25 points in the semifinal against UCLA. Kispert (18.9 ppg) and Suggs (14.0 ppg) form a dynamic backcourt. Joel Ayayi (11.8 ppg) and Andrew Nembhard (9.1 ppg) also hit double figures against the Bruins. The Bulldogs do not have a deep bench.  

Baylor key players   

Baylor uses an eight-man rotation, but everything starts with guards Butler (16.5 ppg), Teague (15.9 ppg) and Mitchell (14.0 ppg). They combine to average close to 12 assists per game, and they combined for 40 points in the victory against Houston. Baylor’s supporting cast includes Adam Flagler (9.0 ppg), Matthew Mayer (8.2 ppg), Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua (6.3 ppg), Mark Vital (5.7 ppg) and Flo Thamba (3.6 ppg).  

Best individual matchup: Jalen Suggs vs. Davion Mitchell  

There are popcorn GIFs for this kind of thing. Mitchell is the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year, and the 6-2, 205-pound guard is a wide body who is disruptive on the perimeter. Suggs, a 6-4, 205-pound guard, is one of the best — if not the best — players in the country off the drive, and he has shot better than 50 percent from the floor for the season. The Bears have turned up their defense in the last three tournament games, allowing just 60.7 points per game. Mitchell has been at the center of that.  

Gonzaga vs. Baylor stat to know  

UCLA pushed Gonzaga to the brink by shooting 57.6 percent from the floor. That was the highest field goal percentage against the Bulldogs this season. The other two teams to shoot 50 percent or better? Kansas (53.2 percent) and Oklahoma (50 percent). Gonzaga won both of those games, but those Big 12 schools were successful on the offensive end. Baylor can have that success, and it also can win with its defense.  

Get to know . . . Mayer and Tchamwa Tchatchoua 

The two combined for 23 points and 10 rebounds against Houston in the Final Four, and both played over 20 minutes. They are high-energy players who will be valuable on defense given how Gonzaga can push the tempo for 40 minutes. Tchamwa Tchatchoua, a 6-8 forward from Cameroon, likely will see valuable minutes against Timme. Mayer has averaged 4.4 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game in the tournament. They will need to contribute for the Bears to pull the upset.  

Gonzaga vs Baylor prediction    

Gonzaga was supposed to win in a blowout and Baylor in a tight one in the Final Four. Those roles were reversed. Still, the Bulldogs did what UNLV and Kentucky couldn’t do in 1991 and 2015, respectively: reach the championship game.

The Bears can score with the Bulldogs, which should lead to a furious first half and a slim Gonzaga lead at intermission. Baylor has defended the 3-point ball well during the tournament, but the common thread in its two losses this season (Kansas, Oklahoma State) was an off shooting night. If the Bears are off, then Gonzaga will win in a blowout.

Mitchell will tie up Suggs, but Kispert and Timme will get the offense going in the second half. The Bulldogs hold off Baylor’s late charge with free throws, seal the perfect season and earn a national championship worth waiting for.

Final score: Gonzaga 85, Baylor 81

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White Sox’s Carlos Rodon completes no-hitter after losing perfect game in 9th to HBP

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White Sox's Carlos Rodon completes no-hitter after losing perfect game in 9th to HBP

Carlos Rodon went through elbow surgery two years ago and shoulder issues last year. The White Sox non-tendered him last offseason and then re-signed him about two weeks before the start of spring training.

He was perfectly healthy for his second start of 2021, to the point he almost made history.

Rodon on Wednesday threw a no-hitter against Cleveland, beating the Tribe 8-0 on a 45-degree night in Chicago. He was two outs away from becoming the 24th MLB pitcher to throw a nine-inning perfect game.

MORE: Teams’ most recent no-hitters

Unfortunately for him, he lost the perfecto when he hit Cleveland catcher Roberto Perez on the foot with a breaking ball with one out in the ninth. Perez did not make much of an effort to avoid the pitch but there was no argument from the White Sox.

After that, the 28-year-old left-hander struck out Yu Chang and retired Jordan Luplow on a ground ball to third baseman Yoan Moncada to complete the no-hitter. Rodon threw 114 pitches (75 strikes), his highest pitch count since throwing 116 on July 29, 2018 (per Baseball-reference.com). 

Rodon almost lost his perfecto bid on the first batter of the ninth. Josh Naylor hit a slow bouncer to first baseman Jose Abreu, who slid into the bag to barely beat a diving Naylor. First base umpire Brian Knight, who was no Jim Joyce on this night, called Naylor out. A rapid replay review upheld the call.

“That was a hell of a play, man, hell of a play,” Rodon told the White Sox TV crew in an on-field interview.

Rodon rejoined the Sox on Feb. 1 — he said it was a “pretty easy” decision to come back, knowing that Chicago was set up to win now — and then pitched his way into the rotation in spring training. Wednesday’s start was just his fourth since suffering the elbow injury that led to Tommy John surgery in May 2019. He threw 95 pitches over five innings in his 2021 debut, April 5 vs. the Mariners.

He almost became the fourth White Sox pitcher to throw a perfect game; he would have joined Philip Humber (2012), Mark Buehrle (2009) and Charlie Robertson (1922). Instead, he completed the 20th no-hitter in franchise history (rotation mate Lucas Giolito no-hit the Pirates last Aug. 25).

And he threw the second no-no in MLB in less than a week. Joe Musgrove threw the first no-hitter in Padres history Friday night against the Rangers in Texas.

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PSG star Neymar wants to be professional poker player when he retires from football

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PSG star Neymar wants to be professional poker player when he retires from football

PSG star Neymar has expressed his desire to become a professional poker player when he retires from football.

The 29-year-old started playing poker during the 2014 World Cup and has developed a passion for the game since then. 

Neymar said he played with Gerard Pique during his time at Barcelona and now counts Keylor Navas and Leandro Paredes among his poker rivals at PSG.

What was said?

When asked by CNEWS if his goal was to be a professional poker player when he retires from football, Neymar said: “It’s true, it’s true. It’s one of the things I love to do the most. 

“I feel very comfortable and I think that after playing football I will be able to do tournaments, travel to play tournaments that I have always wanted to participate in and could not do because of my agenda and my career. 

“So when I finish my football career, that’s one of the things I’m going to do, travel to play this type of tournament.

“Among the similarities between poker and football, I think focus is one of them. The way you read your opponent and the game is also very important. 

“I think one of the most important things in football, and what I do on the pitch, is to read the game, read your opponent, and see where you can attack, where you can move to create a chance for your team. 

“And in poker it’s the same, you have to read the game, read your opponents and know the right time to attack your opponent.”

What’s next for Neymar?

The Brazilian still has plenty to accomplish on the pitch before his playing days are over, starting with his quest for a treble with PSG this season.

Neymar helped PSG past Bayern Munich in the Champions League this week, setting up a semi-final clash with Manchester City.

PSG are also three points back of first-place Lille in Ligue 1, while they have a French Cup quarter-final date with Angers later this month.

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‘Heading into one’s arm is not punishable’ – Dortmund boss Terzic slams penalty decision vs Man City

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'Heading into one's arm is not punishable' - Dortmund boss Terzic slams penalty decision vs Man City

Borussia Dortmund manager Edin Terzic hit out at a crucial penalty call that went against his side on Wednesday in their Champions League elimination against Manchester City.

With Dortmund leading 1-0 on the night and poised to advance to the semi-finals on away goals, Emre Can was whistled for a handball in the box 10 minutes into the second half. 

Can headed the ball off his outstretched arm, which Terzic insisted meant the spot kick should not have been awarded. Riyad Mahrez would convert the ensuing penalty to send City on their way to the last four.

What was said?

“To be fair, you have to congratulate Man City,” Terzic told Sky Germany. “They played brilliantly and deservedly go one round further.

“After three of four halves, however, we were through – then it’s annoying that we end up conceding two goals like this. At the referee training it is clearly stated that heading into one’s arm is not punishable.

“Let me put it this way: We weren’t very lucky with decisions in the two games. We had a big dream, it is now unfortunately over.”

What other decisions went against Dortmund?

Jude Bellingham had what appeared to be a valid goal taken away in the first leg after he stole the ball from Ederson and rolled it into an empty net.

The referee ruled the teenager had fouled Ederson and blew his whistle before Bellingham put the ball into an empty net, meaning the play could not be reviewed by VAR. 

Replays showed that Bellingham had robbed the ball in mid-air from Ederson while hardly making contact with the goalkeeper.

What happened after Mahrez’s goal?

The Algerian drew City level on the night after Bellingham’s opener for Dortmund, and his spot kick put City ahead 3-2 on aggregate. 

City would then go on to control possession as they looked to take away the Germans’ chances of equalising.

With 15 minutes to play, Phil Foden then grabbed another goal to put the tie out of reach for Dortmund as City advanced with a 4-2 aggregate win.

What’s next for both teams?

Dortmund will face Werder Bremen on Sunday as they continue their pursuit of a top-four spot in the Bundesliga, currently sitting in fifth place. 

City take on Chelsea in a FA Cup semi-final on Saturday before they face PSG in the Champions League semi-finals later in April.

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