That’s not supposed to happen. Endings like that are too good to believe. That’s what happens at the end of those movies on Disney+, not in real life. Not in a game that was supposed to have been a blowout, and wound up turning into a March classic that needed overtime and a buzzer-beater.
I mean, look at this again.
This. Isn’t. Supposed. To. Happen. In. Real. Life.
When Jalen Suggs picked Gonzaga, it raised a ton of eyebrows. The Zags don’t get top-ranked recruits like that. Guys like Suggs always end up at Duke or Kentucky. Rivals.com had him ranked as the 11th best player in the class of 2020, which means he’s the best recruit to ever play for the program. Ironically enough, Suggs’ record will only stand for a season, as Hunter Sallis’ recent commitment means he’ll have the title next year, showing up to Spokane next year as the No. 7-ranked recruit in the land.
Hoops analysts already had Suggs listed as a Top-5 pick in this summer’s NBA Draft, but after a shot like that, and the ridiculous play he made late in the second half, he’s sure to climb even higher.
Like, how is this possible?
Coming off Friday night’s Women’s Final Four, the men had huge shoes to fill given the show the ladies put on in San Antonio. No. 1 Stanford survived a missed buzzer-beater to get past No. 1 South Carolina, while No. 1 UConn was upset by No. 3 Arizona who put on a defensive clinic as Aari McDonald dropped 26 on the Huskies. In the first game on Saturday, No. 1 Baylor toyed with No. 2 Houston all game as the Bears led by 25 at the half before going on to win by 19. A lackluster Game One got even more uninteresting as CBS decided to have Miley Cyrus give an intermission concert.
But then, UCLA, Gonzaga, and Suggs gave us what we longed for, a slugfest. After beating No. 11 Michigan State, No. 6 BYU, No. 14 Abilene Christian, No. 2 Alabama, and No. 1 Michigan, the No. 11 Bruins were playing with house money against the tournament’s No. 1 overall seed. Besides, the last two teams (1991 UNLV & 2015 Kentucky) that showed up undefeated in a Final Four that was held in Indianapolis lost in the national semifinals and didn’t even get to play on Monday night for a chance at a championship.
From here on out, the tournament committee needs to find a way to make UCLA and Gonzaga happen every year. Because each time they meet in the tourney, unforgettable things happen.
On Monday night, a program that only has one Final Four appearance (Gonzaga) on its resume, and a school (Baylor) that’s known more for women’s basketball and its football program’s alleged rapey history — will be the last two standing in a season in which they were the best two teams from the start, with a combined 58-2 record. Due to COVID, the only regular-season matchup between the two teams was postponed in December, and it wasn’t rescheduled, until now.
In an era in which many feel that college basketball is losing much of its luster, as players are starting to play overseas or go straight to the G League and make money instead of enrolling in college, Suggs’ game-winner proved that the sport still has an invaluable asset.
Because when you hit a buzzer-beater in March, you become a legend. And since legends never die, it means that Jalen Suggs is eternal.