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Sports 2021 Gonzaga Bulldogs among seven best men's basketball teams without NCAA Tournament title

14:21  06 april  2021
14:21  06 april  2021 Source:   usatoday.com

NHL postpones Canucks' next three games due to COVID

  NHL postpones Canucks' next three games due to COVID The NHL has postponed three more games for the Vancouver Canucks, shutting them down through April 6 after Travis Hamonic was added to the COVID protocol on Thursday. Hamonic joined Adam Gaudette, who has tested positive for coronavirus and a member of the team’s coaching staff. © Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports The NHL has shut down the Canucks through April 6. The league is hoping that the Canucks will be able to play on April 8 against the Calgary Flames, but games against the Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets in the coming days will have to be pushed. All practices have also been canceled for the time being.

The NCAA men's basketball tournament is a beautiful spectacle of drama and unforgettable moments.

And while the upsets and great performances for three weeks create memories for fans and players, the event isn't necessarily the best way to determine a national champion.

A single-elimination tournament with 68 teams is going to lead to chaos where brackets are imperfect and some teams get easier paths to the Final Four. The pressure of performing every game also leads to some favorites getting knocked off by a great night from an unexpected opponent.

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NHL postpones Wednesday's Calgary-Vancouver game

  NHL postpones Wednesday's Calgary-Vancouver game The NHL has decided to ere on the side of caution as a result of Adam Gaudette’s positive COVID-19 test. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports (Twitter link) that tonight’s game between the Canucks and Flames has been postponed.  TSN’s Frank Seravalli tweets that the decision was made after more information has surfaced regarding Vancouver’s test results; that information obviously has not yet been made public.

So while the nets are cut down every April and a champion is crowned, that doesn't mean the best team won. There are many great teams that have fallen short.

LOOKING AHEAD: College basketball's way-too-early men's preseason top 25 for 2021-22

DESERVES RESPECT: Don't let loss to Baylor detract from what coach Mark Few has done at Gonzaga

A look at the seven best not to win a championship since the tournament expanded to 48 teams in 1980:

1983 Houston

Phi Slama Jama. Those three words are enough to conjure up memories of the Cougars and their rare athletic talent. Clyde Drexler on the outside and Hakeem Olajuwon on the inside drew most of the attention, but it was lefty forward Michael Young that led the team in scoring. Houston only lost to Syracuse and Virginia early in the season before running off a 25-game win streak entering the Final Four. The Cougars' high-flying performance against No. 1 Louisville in their national semifinal left no doubt what would happen to what seemed to be an overmatched North Carolina State team. Except the Wolfpack somehow stayed close and stunned the Cougars on a last-second dunk by Lorenzo Charles. You may have seen that highlight once or twice before.

What channel is Gonzaga vs. Baylor on today? Time, TV schedule for 2021 NCAA Tournament championship

  What channel is Gonzaga vs. Baylor on today? Time, TV schedule for 2021 NCAA Tournament championship Everything you need to know about NCAA Tournament championship between Gonzaga and Baylor:No. 1 Gonzaga (31-0) and No. 1 Baylor (27-2), the consensus top two teams in the country for a majority of the season, will face off in the final game of the 2021 NCAA Tournament. Both the Bulldogs and Bears have been the clear best team when they have taken the court this March, winning by a combined average of 18.0 and 15.2 points per game, respectively.

1985 Georgetown

Patrick Ewing was a senior and the Hoyas returned much of the team that won the national title in the previous season. Reggie Williams, Bill Martin and David Wingate helped supplement the offense. The defense of the Hoyas was equally difficult to solve. John Thompson's pressure system was helped by having Ewing as an eraser down low. Consecutive losses to St. John's and Syracuse were the only two defeats during the regular season as they navigated a difficult Big East schedule. The league would place three teams in the Final Four. Georgetown would beat St. John's handily in the semifinal before facing Villanova in the championship game. The Hoyas had won the two regular-season meetings, but the Wildcats would pull a huge upset by shooting 22-for-28 from the field in a near-perfect performance that was clinched by late free throws.

Can Gonzaga top '96 Kentucky, '90 UNLV as most dominant NCAA Tournament team since 1985?

  Can Gonzaga top '96 Kentucky, '90 UNLV as most dominant NCAA Tournament team since 1985? Gonzaga is in position to pull off a perfect season. Should be the Bulldogs be considered in the same debate as 1996 Kentucky and 1990 UNLV as best tournament team ever?There's even more at stake. The Bulldogs have put themselves in the conversation as the most-dominant tournament team in the expanded bracket era, which began in 1985, after blowing out their first four opponents in the 2021 NCAA men's basketball tournament.

a basketball player with a crowd watching: Georgetown's Reggie Williams (34) is guarded by Villanova's Dwight Wilbur (4) during the first half of the championship game of the 1985 NCAA Tournament. © John Swart, AP Georgetown's Reggie Williams (34) is guarded by Villanova's Dwight Wilbur (4) during the first half of the championship game of the 1985 NCAA Tournament.

1991 UNLV

As feared as Houston and Georgetown were, the Runnin' Rebels may have had the biggest intimidation factor of any college basketball team in this era. Already champions from the previous season when it beat Duke by 30 in the title game, UNLV was perfect during its 30 games of the regular season and riding an overall 41-game winning streak before the tournament. Only Arkansas had played within 10 points of the Rebels in the regular season. It wasn't a question of if they would repeat, but by how much. Larry Johnson was a dominant inside presence with the backcourt of Greg Anthony and Anderson Hunt providing outside threats. Stacey Augmon was an elite defender in Jerry Tarkanian's amoeba defense. Four opponents were dispatched with relative ease as UNLV reached the Final Four, which set up a rematch with Duke in the national semifinals. The Blue Devils would frustrate the Rebels by largely nullifying Johnson. A late run capped by two Christian Laettner free throws gave the Blue Devils a shocking win after Hunt's potential game-winning 3-pointer missed badly at the buzzer.

The Latest: Baylor 1st national title denies Zags perfection

  The Latest: Baylor 1st national title denies Zags perfection INDIANAPOLIS — The Latest on the national championship game between Baylor and Gonzaga (all times local): 11:30 p.m. Baylor is on top of the college basketball world, winning its first national championship while denying perfection for Gonzaga. All-American guard Jared Butler had 22 points and seven assists for the Bears in 86-70 victory Monday night. His backcourt mates did plenty as well. MaCio Teague had 19 points and Davion Mitchell 15 for the Bears. Adam Flagler, a guard who will be back next season, added 13 points, and fifth-year senior Mark Vital had 11 rebounds. Baylor ended the season at 28-2. Freshman Jalen Suggs had 22 points for Gonzaga, which finished 31-1.

1999 Duke

Eight years later, it was the Blue Devils that were the overwhelming favorite in the tournament. Their only loss in the regular season was a two-point defeat to Cincinnati in November. What followed was an unprecedented 16-0 run through the ACC where only Georgia Tech would stay within 10 points of the Blue Devils. Their three wins in the conference tournament were by a combined 75 points. Sophomore forward Elton Brad was the star with Trajan Langdon and William Avery providing the scoring from the backcourt. The depth was so great Corey Maggette would come off the bench in his only college season and future national player of the year Shane Battier was the sixth-leading scorer as a sophomore. All five were taken in the first 14 picks of their respective NBA drafts. The Blue Devils would roll into the championship game against Connecticut, but the Huskies stayed close and made the key plays late to win by three and end Duke's 32-game win streak.

2005 Illinois

A three-guard lineup of Deron Williams, Dee Brown and Luther Head powered the Fighting Illini to 29 consecutive wins to start the season. They were first ranked No. 1 in December and held that spot in the final 15 polls. Only a one-point loss to Ohio State in the regular-season finale spoiled an unbeaten Big Ten campaign. It was smooth sailing in the tournament until the Elite Eight when Arizona was close to pulling off a major upset with a 15-point lead with just more than four minutes left. Illinois rallied and tied the game when Williams hit a three and would go on to win in overtime. The first step at the Final Four was a rout of Louisville, which led to a showdown with North Carolina. The size of the Tar Heels caused trouble, especially with big man James Augustine playing just nine minutes due to foul trouble. Still, the Illini had a chance to tie in the final seconds but Head's three missed.

Undefeated college basketball teams: How many national champions went unbeaten in NCAA Tournament era?

  Undefeated college basketball teams: How many national champions went unbeaten in NCAA Tournament era? Gonzaga has a chance to become the first team since Indiana in 1975-76 to finish the season undefeated. Breaking down every such team in college basketball history:Four other teams have entered the tournament unbeaten since, and each failed to reach that lofty height — including two teams that lost in the Final Four and another in the national championship.

2015 Kentucky

John Calipari built this team with one-and-done talents Karl-Anthony Towns, Devin Booker, and Trey Lyles – all future first-round picks – teaming with twin guards Aaron and Andrew Harrison, who were veterans as sophomores, and junior Willie Cauley-Stein, another first-round NBA draft pick. The Wildcats reeled off 34 wins ahead of Selection Sunday with only a few scares in their unbeaten run through the SEC. But like the 1991 UNLV team, Kentucky got to the Final Four and were facing a team looking for revenge from the previous season. Wisconsin had lost to the Wildcats in the 2014 national semifinals and got another opportunity in Indianapolis. Frank Kaminsky's 20 points and a go-ahead, 3-pointer by Sam Dekker with less than two minutes left keyed the upset as the Wildcats went home two wins short of the championship.

2021 Gonzaga

The second unbeaten to reach the title game since Indiana had its perfect season in 1976, the Bulldogs were dominant in the regular season and topped the nation in scoring with All-Americans Drew Timme and Corey Kispert leading the way. While they played in the West Coast Conference, they supplemented that less-challenging schedule with non-conference games against Kansas, Virginia, Iowa and West Virginia. The Mountaineers were the only team to stay within 10 points of them before the Final Four. That's where things got challenging. Gonzaga survived an overtime thriller against UCLA when freshman Jalen Suggs banked in a 3-pointer at the buzzer. In the title game against Baylor, the Bulldogs appeared to lack energy and the cohesiveness they had all season. The Bears jumped on them early and rolled to a convincing win.

Jalen Suggs' heavenly heave puts Gonzaga into title game — and UCLA on track to excel in future

  Jalen Suggs' heavenly heave puts Gonzaga into title game — and UCLA on track to excel in future The Bulldogs freshman entered Final Four lore with a banked 3-pointer from just inside midcourt at the end of OT. The game itself is now part of NCAA history, too, and both teams can feel like winners after it.And they were the losing team.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 2021 Gonzaga Bulldogs among seven best men's basketball teams without NCAA Tournament title

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