Baylor Wins NCAA National Championship
March Madness once again lived up to its name as this year's tournament was full of wild upsets—who saw Oral Roberts coming? It seems only appropriate that tonight's championship was decided by one final shocker. Not that anyone would call Baylor a Cinderella team, not by a long shot. They were a number 1 seed after all, but Gonzaga went the entire season undefeated. They were chasing that elusive record of the perfect season, last achieved in 1976 by Indiana University. Raise your hand if you had them going all the way in your bracket. We know it was more than just a few. But tonight, that dream would not be realized. They were just no match for the blitz by the Baylor Bears, who ultimately defeated the Zags 86-70. Jared Butler topping the score card with 22 points. This Baylor team makes history as the first ever from the Waco, Texas, university to win it all.
Right out of the gate, Baylor made their presence known on the court. Scoring 11 points to Gonzaga's one before the game clock had even run five minutes. As the announcers declared going into the first commercial break, "the Baylor Bears are on fire!" Baylor continued that dominance, at one point in the first half, leading by as many as 19 points. By halftime, Gonzaga fought back but still the Bears headed into the locker room with a 10-point lead, 47-37.
There was no fight strong enough in the Zags in the second half either that could match both the offense and defensive of those mighty Bears. And while Gonzaga's dream didn't come true, for Baylor's coach, Scott Drew, well it seems his dream did become reality. When he was hired in 2003, he came into a program that was in need of a major overhaul and he declared in his introductory press conference that he was going to take Baylor to win a National Championship. And 18 years later he's done just that. In response in the post-game press conference, Coach Drew said, "I prayed about it. I felt led. God has blessed us with unbelievable players, the people that have come for 18 years, our fans that have been with us through the lean years, the good years, and our administration… they all deserve this. The city of Waco deserves this. Hey Texas, we've got a national championship too! The state deserves it."
"If you're going to war, and I'm coaching, I'm taking these guys," Coach Drew proudly added, gesturing to his team huddled behind him as the green and yellow confetti continued to rain down on the champions.
While the student sections of the arena were populated with cardboard cut outs of students instead of the real thing, we are certain the players could hear their fans hooting and hollering from a watch party on the football field back in Waco all the way in Indianapolis.
Way to go, Bears!