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Final Four: Gonzaga's the favorite, but all the teams have great basketball stories to tell

April 3, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 23.3%. 2 min read.

Houston, UCLA, Baylor and Gonzaga each bring something exciting to the last stages of an unusual Big Dance.

The NCAA men's basketball national semifinals will include arguably the game's top two teams in Gonzaga and Baylor, and a third top contender in Houston.

But this 11-seed is only the second team to reach the Final Four after starting in the First Four play-in round, which expanded the men's field from 64 teams to 68 in 2011.

Junior guard Davion Mitchell, a 3-point threat himself, is a Naismith Defensive Player of the Year finalist -- a "nightmare to bring the ball up against," Drew said.

After Baylor's Elite Eight win Monday, a reporter asked senior guard MaCio Teague about how some tournament teams tried to slow the Bears down, while others tried to speed them up, and both efforts failed.

Yes, Houston is the first team to get to the national semifinals by beating four double-digit seeds in the same tournament.

But the Cougars have been scary all year, boasting the nation's top field goal percentage defense and allowing the second fewest points per game.

And those "double seeds also had to beat a single seed in order to get to this point," fifth-year senior guard DeJon Jarreau told reporters after nearly getting a triple-double against Oregon State in the Elite Eight.

Jarreau said he thought Houston could reach the Final Four two years ago, before Kentucky's Tyler Herro crushed that dream with a late 3-pointer in the Sweet 16.

"I thought last year's (23-8) team could make a run," too, before the coronavirus canceled the 2020 tournament, he said.

Junior guard Quentin Grimes, his conference's co-player of the year, leads the Cougars in scoring with 18 points a game.

Last game, no UCLA bench player scored, and Juzang -- creating his own shots and cutting off-ball to get open for more -- had 28 of his team's 51 points.

He always figures out a way to get his shot," coach Mark Few, seeking his first title in his second Final Four since taking over in 1999, said after Tuesday's game.

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