Baylor is playing in its third Final Four and first in the modern era
|No. 1 BAYLOR BEARS (26-2, 13-1)|
Location: Waco, Texas
Head Coach: Scott Drew (Butler, 1993)
Roster | Stats | Game Notes (PDF)
|BAYLOR (26-2, 13-1) vs. HOUSTON (28-3, 14-3)|
April 3, 2021 • 4:14 p.m. CT
Indianapolis, Ind. • Lucas Oil Stadium (70,000)
LIVE STATS: statbroadcast.com/ncaa
WATCH: CBS and March Madness App
Talent: Jim Nantz (pxp), Bill Raftery (analyst), Grant Hill (analyst), Tracy Wolfson (reporter)
LISTEN: Baylor Sports Network | ESPN Central Texas
Talent: John Morris (pxp) and Pat Nunley (analyst)
Baylor Social Media:
|No. 2 HOUSTON COUGARS (28-3, 14-3)|
Location: Houston, Texas
Head Coach: Kelvin Sampson (UNC Pembroke, 1978)
Roster | Stats (PDF) | Game Notes (PDF)
Three years ago, Davion Mitchell sent MaCio Teague a text message saying if they both transferred to Baylor, “we could make it to a Final Four.”
“Everybody will say something like that in a text when you’re getting recruited,” Teague said. “I just felt like we could do something special at Baylor University, and we’ve lived up to that so far.”
True to Mitchell’s word – whether it was just a recruiting pitch or not – the two transfer guards have led the Bears (26-2) to their first Final Four in 71 years. Baylor faces former Southwest Conference-rival Houston (28-3) in the national semifinals at 4:14 p.m. CDT Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
In their two seasons together, since sitting out 2018-19 as Division I transfers, Mitchell and Teague have helped Baylor compile a 52-6 record, a school- and Big 12-record 23-game winning streak last year and its first conference title since 1950.
Mitchell is the consensus National Defensive Player of the Year, while Teague is a finalist for the Naismith Jerry West Shooting Guard Award.
Along with first-team All-American Jared Butler (16.5 ppg, 4.8 assists), they form arguably the best backcourt in college basketball. Teague (15.9 ppg, 4.1 rebounds) scored a game-high 22 points in Monday’s 81-72 win over Arkansas in the South Region final and joined Butler and Region Most Outstanding Player Mitchell (14.0 ppg, 5.3 assists) on the all-tournament team.
Standing in Baylor’s path for a trip to Monday’s national championship game is a Houston team that also features a strong backcourt trio. Former Kansas transfer Quentin Grimes (18.0 ppg, 5.8 rebounds), the American Conference Player of the Year and a third-team All-American, is joined by 6-5 sophomore DeJon Jarreau (10.8 ppg, 5.5 rebounds, 4.4 assists) and 6-1 sophomore Marcus Sasser (13.5 ppg).
Jarreau was named the Midwest Region MOP after flirting with a triple-double with 10 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in a 67-61 win over 12th-seeded Oregon State in the region final.
Houston leads the nation with a 37.3 field goal percentage defense, ranks second with 57.6 points allowed, third in offensive rebounds per game (14.5) and fifth in 3-point field goal percentage defense (28.3).
Baylor counters with an offense that leads the nation in 3-point field goal percentage (41.1), ranks sixth in scoring (83.0 ppg) and seventh in offensive rebound percentage (36.6). Defensively, the Bears are ninth in steals (9.0) and turnovers forced (17.3).
• Baylor is playing in its third Final Four and first in the modern era (1948 & 1950 were 8-team brackets).
• Baylor is 18-14 in 13 all-time NCAA Championships, including a 15-8 record in the Scott Drew era.
• With a win, BU can advance to the championship game for the second time (1948 vs. Kentucky).
• Baylor is appearing in the NCAA Tournament for the sixth time in the last seven tournaments.
• The Bears have committed only 19 turnovers over the last 3 games, including only 7 live-ball turnovers.
• BU is averaging a +10 turnover margin in the NCAA Tournament (7.3 TOs/game, 17.3 TOs forced/gm).
• BU built an 18-point lead and Arkansas didn’t get closer than 4 the rest of the way in the Elite 8 win.
• BU won its Sweet 16 game vs. Villanova despite its worst 3-point shooting game of the season (3-19).
• BU is facing Houston for the first time since Nov. 30, 2002, the last year prior to the Scott Drew era.
• Drew’s .652 career NCAA Tournament winning percentage (15-8) is 10th-best among active coaches.
• Baylor has won 22 straight non-conference games (+21.7 average margin) dating back to Nov. 2020.
• Baylor is 9-2 vs. AP Top 25 teams this season, including 5-0 against AP Top 10 teams.
• BU leads the nation in 3-point percentage (.411) and is top-10 nationally in scoring margin (3rd, +17.4), scoring (6th, 83.0), turnover margin (3rd, +5.6), defensive turnover pct. (3rd, 24.7), effective FG% (7th, 56.5), offensive rebound pct. (7th, 36.6), steals (9th, 9.0) and turnovers forced (9th, 17.3).
• BU has led by at least 10 points in 25 of 28 games this year (8 of 11 games since the 21-day pause).
• Baylor has led by at least 4 points in all 58 games over the last 2 seasons (double-digit leads in 49 of 58).
• Baylor’s current .411 team 3FG% is the 8th-best mark by any team in the Big 12’s 25-year history.
• Baylor has played 15 of its 28 games (13-2) vs. 11 different NCAA Tournament teams this season.
• Baylor’s streak of 9 consecutive postseasons is tied as the nation’s 7th-longest active streak.
• Baylor is making its 10th NCAA Tournament appearance in the modern tournament era. BU’s first three NCAA Tournament appearances in 1946, 1948 and 1950 were in an eight-team, unseeded bracket.
• Baylor won the Big 12 for the first time and claimed its first conference title since 1950.
• The conference title is the 6th in program history and the 4th outright title (1932, 1946, 1948, 2021).
• Five Baylor players are shooting at least 40% on 3FGs and averaging at least one 3FG made per game: Mitchell (45%), Butler (40%), Teague (40%), Flagler (42%) and Mayer (40%).
• Baylor is guaranteed to finish with its fewest losses since going 13-0 in 1911-12.
• Jared Butler (Wooden Award & Bob Cousy PG Award), MaCio Teague (Jerry West SG Award) and Davion Mitchell (Naismith Defensive Player of the Year) are all national award finalists.
• Butler is AP Big 12 Player of the Year, Baylor’s first conference POY since David Wesley (1992 SWC).
• Butler is the first unanimous 1st Team All-American in program history, while Mitchell (3rd Team NABC, Sporting News & AP) and Teague (3rd Team NCAA.com) also picked up All-America honors.
• Mitchell (coaches) and Mark Vital (The Athletic) earned Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year honors.
• For a second-straight year, BU had 60% of the Big 12 All-Defensive Team (Vital, Mitchell and Butler).
• Scott Drew earned AP and coaches’ Big 12 Coach of the Year for a second-consecutive season.
FIRST CONFERENCE TITLE IN 71 YEARS
• Baylor won its first conference championship in 71 seasons (1950 Southwest Conference).
• Baylor has won six league titles in programs history, four of them outright – 1932 (10-2), 1946 (11-1), 1948 (11-1), 1949 (9-3), 1950 (8-4) and 2021 (13-1). The 1949 and 1950 titles were co-championships.
• Baylor’s best previous Big 12 finish was outright 2nd-place last season. BU also tied for 2nd in 2010 and 2017.
• Baylor’s 15 Big 12 wins last season were the most ever by a team that didn’t claim the Big 12 title.
• Baylor assistant coach Alvin Brooks III is facing his father, Houston assistant Alvin Brooks. They’ve met twice previously when Houstond defeated Sam Houston State while AB3 was an assistant coach at SHSU.
• Houston’s Brooks is in his 23rd season at UH (11th as assistant), while Baylor’s Brooks is in his 5th season at BU.
• Baylor has played in one previous NCAA Tournament title game – 1948, when it was an 8-team bracket.
• Baylor is 38-21 in postseason tournaments (conference, national) over the last 13 seasons.
• Baylor has been top-5 ranked for 28-straight weeks. BU was top-5 for 12 weeks all-time prior to this streak.
• BU’s streak of 36-straight AP pols ranked is the nation’s 3rd-longest active streak and longest in BU history.
• Baylor joins Kansas as the only Power-5 schools to win 18+ games every year since 2008.
• Baylor is 52-6 since MaCio Teague and Davion Mitchell became eligible at the start of 2019-20.
• Mark Vital holds the BU record for career Big 12 wins at 45-22. The previous record was A.J. Walton’s 39.
• Baylor became the first team since UNLV in 1990-91 to win its first 17 games by 8+ points.
• Baylor joins Duke, Gonzaga and Kansas as the only programs ranked No. 1 in 3 of the last 5 seasons.
• Head coach Scott Drew is in his 18th season in Waco and is BU’s all-time wins leader (368-215).
• Baylor is 25-1 at home over the last 2 seasons, with the lone loss by 3 points to Kansas on 2/22/20.
• Baylor is 14-3 in Big 12 road games over the last 2 seasons (rest of league is 59-99 in B12 road games).
• Baylor’s 18-game winning streak tied the 4th-longest in the Big 12’s 25-year history. The Bears set the record with 23 straight last season, while Kansas had the 2nd and 3rd-longest streaks – 22 in 1997 and 20 in 2008.
• Baylor signed the highest-ranked recruiting class in program history (No. 4) in November. BU inked 5-star Kendall Brown, 4-star Langston Love and 4-star Jeremy Sochan for the 2021-22 season.
• Baylor won double-digit Big 12 games for the 8th time (2010, 2012, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2020, 2021).
• Baylor is 73-5 when leading at halftime over the last 4 seasons (43-2 over last 2 seasons, 22-0 this season).
• Baylor has won 90% of its games when leading at the half since 2011-12 (191-21).
• BU is 52-4 when leading at any point in the 2nd half of a game over the last 2 seasons (140-23 last 6 seasons).
• Baylor has won 20+ games in 12 of the last 14 seasons after recording only three 20-win seasons in the previous 100 years of Baylor Basketball (1946, 1948, 1988).
• Baylor is 243-99 over the last 10 seasons, averaging 24 wins per season since 2011-12.
• Baylor’s 243 wins since 2011-12 are second-most in the Big 12 behind only Kansas (284).
• Baylor is 334-146 since 2007-08, the first year Drew’s staff had a full allotment of scholarships.
• Eight of Baylor’s players either have used or are currently using a redshirt year. Four after transferring to BU – Flagler, Mitchell, Tchamwa Tchatchoua and Teague, and four as freshmen — Moffatt, Turner, Vital and Dainja.
• Ten of Baylor’s 11 starting point guards under Drew have earned All-Big recognition (16 of last 17 seasons).
• Baylor is 1 of 10 teams nationally to appear in every postseason since 2012 (7 NCAAs, 2 NITs).
• Baylor has the nation’s 10th-longest active streak with at least one 3-point FG made in 960 straight games — the last time Baylor failed to make a 3-pointer was more than 30 years ago, on Feb. 21, 1990 vs. Texas Tech (0-8).
COURTESY BAYLOR ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS