In the midst of a pandemic, the NCAA has made it to the final weekend of the tournament. The No. 1 seed Baylor Bears will face off against the No. 2 seed Houston Cougars on Saturday evening in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The first weekend of March Madness was wild with no shortage of busting upsets, but now things have settled down from the first night of the Elite Eight. These two teams are ready to go head to head with a spot in the national title game on the line.
Baylor is back in the Final 4 for the first time since the 1950 season, while Houston is returning to the final weekend for the first time since the Phi Slama Jama era in 1984. Head coach of Baylor, Scott Drew, is making his first-ever Final 4 appearance. Kelvin Sampson, Houston’s head coach, is returning, and it’s his first since 2002.
Baylor Bears Preview
Baylor is (26-2) and are the South Region champions after beating the Arkansas Razorbacks in the 81-72 in the Regional Final. Davion Mitchell, Jared Butler, and MaCio Teague have carried Butler throughout the tournament.
Led by one of the best backcourts in college basketball who combine to score 46.4 points per game for the Bears, the trio of star guards does an excellent job of picking one another up. They have helped lead Baylor to the best three-point shooting field goal percentage at 41% and ranked third in offensive efficiency.
Butler has struggled in the NCAA tournament, but he is a first-team All-American and can take a game over in a matter of seconds. Baylor is also outstanding on the defensive end, and the team is going to need to play well if they are looking for a spot in the title game.
Houston Cougars Preview
The Houston Cougars (28-3) won the Midwest Region and are back in the Final 4 for the first time since 1984. Houston stumbled late but was able to seal the deal in the final minute beating Oregon State 67-61. Marcus Sasser and Quentin Grimes combined for nine three-pointers in the win.
Houston has arguably the best defense remaining in the Tournament leading the nation in defensive field goal percentage and holding opponents to 57 points per game. Throughout their run to the Final Four, they’ve held opponents to 55.7 points per game.
The Cougars are full of terrific athletes, and they should make it difficult for Baylor guards to get going from three-point range. This is one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the country. They use that to their advantage in creating second-chance opportunities and spark some energy if the team struggles to get anything going on the offensive end.
Bears vs. Cougars Betting Lines & Odds
Offshore sites have the Baylor Bears as five-point favorites in the first game of the Final 4. Houston doesn’t allow many teams to score over 60 points, but Baylor has the personnel to do so.
The trio of guards the Bears offer does a great job operating in the half-court and just as well in transition. Houston is used to controlling pace because of their smothering defense, but the Bears have seen that a lot playing in the Big 12 conference.
This is going to be a premier defensive battle and lower-scoring contest. Keeping Houston off the offensive glass has to be a focus for the Bears if they are hoping for a chance to move on to the title game.
The safe play is Baylor.
Free Betting Pick: Baylor Bears -5