Baylor guard Davion Mitchell (45) celebrates a play with Adam Flagler in the second half of a Sweet 16 game against Villanova in the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Saturday, March 27, 2021. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
- The NCAA championship odds of the Baylor Bears shortened to +200 after they advanced to the Elite 8 on Saturday
- Baylor rallied for a 62-51 victory over the Villanova Wildcats in the Sweet 16
- The Bears most recently reached the Final Four in 1949-50
The Baylor Bears are retaining their status as the second betting choice in the NCAA championship odds. However, they are closing the gap on the favored Gonzaga Bulldogs in the March Madness betting lines.
Rallying for a 62-51 verdict over the fifth-seeded Villanova Wildcats, the #1 Bears ended up booking a place through to the Elite 8 and into the South Region final. Baylor’s betting line to win the title shortened to +200.
The average odds across the leading online sportsbooks of the Bears winning the NCAA title prior to the Sweet 16 was +325.
2021 NCAA Tournament Odds
|Team||Odds at DraftKings|
Odds as of March 27th
Baylor is in the Elite 8 for the first time since 2011-12. The Bears most recently advanced to the Final Four in 1949-50.
For the longest time during Saturday’s game, it was appearing as if Baylor would be the victims of a Wildcats strike. Three-time NCAA champions Villanova gave the Bears a real scare.
It was 30-23 Villanova at halftime. At one stage in the first half, the Bears went four minutes without a point. That was during a 13-0 Wildcats run.
HERE COMES BAYLOR 🔥
Bears are taking over late: https://t.co/IS4IFKXC1l pic.twitter.com/kcNGv2HYy0
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 27, 2021
A 14-2 Baylor run during the second half finally put the Bears in front on the scoreboard with a six-point advantage. Playing a role in the rally were eight steals by Baylor players. The Bears also finished up forcing 15 Villanova turnovers.
The Wildcats were just the second team this season to hold Baylor’s potent offense under 65 points in a game.
Three Strikes Are Out
Baylor’s usual path to victory simply wasn’t there for the Bears on Saturday. The top 3-point shooting team in the nation at 41.5%, Baylor was a miserable 15.7% (3-for-19) from long range.
Davion Mitchell, shooting 46.1% from beyond the arc this season, went 0-for-3. Jared Butler was 1-for-9 and limited to nine points.
COMEBACK BEARS 🐻
(1) Baylor storms back to defeat (5) Villanova 62-51 and advance to the #Elite8! #MarchMadness pic.twitter.com/aYbcEev91f
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 27, 2021
Unable to make Plan A work, Baylor was left to show everyone that it’s more than a one-trick pony. The Bears turned to defense to whittle away at the deficit.
They trapped Villanova ball handlers. At one point, the Wildcats turned the ball over on five successive possessions.
Switching gears on offense, the Bears abandoned the long ball and got to work in the trenches. opting for an inside game. Baylor crashed the boards, grabbing 11 offensive rebounds.
Silencing The Doubters
Undoubtedly, those who are insisting the 25-2 Bears aren’t all that were chortling the “I told you so’s” during the first half against Villanova. The second half probably quieted them down some, though.
Baylor displayed that there’s more to this team than a one-trick pony. The Bears proved they can win with defense.
Baylor had one of its worst shooting days of the season and still beat Villanova by double figures. Bears advance to the Elite Eight for the third time under Scott Drew.
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) March 27, 2021
They showed that even when their two future NBA players – Butler and Mitchell – aren’t firing on all cylinders, there are other routes to success. Adam Flagler came off the bench Saturday to score a game-high 16 points.
Baylor is for real and a legitimate contender to win it all.
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An industry veteran, Bob literally taught the course on the history of sports at Elder College. He has worked as a Sports Columnist for Postmedia, appeared as a guest on several radio stations, was the Vice President of the Society For International Hockey Research in Ontario, and written 25 books.