The complete history of Baylor's 2021 NCAA basketball championship
2020-21 Baylor Bears Quick Facts
We'll never know how Baylor would've fared in the canceled 2020 NCAA tournament, amid a season in which the Bears won 23 consecutive games from Nov. 15 through Feb. 18. But they left no doubt to their talent, athleticism and shooting ability during the 2021 season as they started the year on an 18-game winning streak, won the Big 12 regular season title, dropped just two games prior to Selection Sunday and added the first and only blemish to previously undefeated Gonzaga's resume in the national championship game.
Here's everything you need to know about Baylor basketball's 2020-21 national championship season.
Coach: Scott Drew
Conference: Big 12
Record: 28-2 (13-1)
Conference finish: 1st
Conference tournament finish: Lost in semifinals
NCAA tournament seed: No. 1 seed
You can jump from section to section here:
- Roster turnover before the championship season
- Baylor's 2020-21 championship roster
- Baylor's player stats from the 2020-21 season
- Baylor's style of play and expanded metrics
- Baylor's AP Poll rankings from every week of the 2020-21 season
- The complete 2021 NCAA bracket, seeds and results
- A game-by-game breakdown of Baylor's schedule
- Individual awards
- Baylor players drafted by NBA teams after the season
Roster turnover before the championship season
Baylor returned its most important players from the 2019-20 season — namely, Jared Butler (16.0 points per game in the 2020 season), MaCio Teague (13.9 ppg) and Davion Mitchell (9.9 ppg) — but the Bears did experience some roster turnover prior to their national championship season.
Here are the rotation players they lost after the 2020 season:
- Freddie Gillespie: 9.6 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 2.2 bpg
- Devonte Bandoo: 7.6 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 1.5 apg
- Tristan Clark: 4.0 ppg, 2.4 rpg
The Bears, however, returned six of their nine rotation players from their 2019-20 squad that went 26-4. They also added some significant players as transfers: Adam Flagler (Presbyterian) and Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua (UNLV).
Baylor's 2020-21 championship roster
|Jared Butler||Guard||Jr.||6-3||195||Reserve, La.|
|MaCio Teague||Guard||Sr.||6-4||195||Cincinnati, Ohio|
|Davion Mitchell||Guard||Jr.||6-2||205||Hinesville, Ga.|
|Adam Flagler||Guard||So.||6-3||180||Duluth, Ga.|
|Matthew Mayer||Guard||Jr.||6-9||225||Austin, Tex.|
|Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua||Forward||So.||6-8||245||Douala, Cameroon|
|Mark Vital||Forward||Sr.||6-5||250||Lake Charles, La.|
|Flo Thamba||Forward||Jr.||6-10||245||Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo|
|LJ Cryer||Guard||Fr.||6-1||185||Katy, Tex.|
|Zach Loveday||Forward||Fr.||7-0||215||Gallipolis, Ohio|
|Jordan Turner||Guard||Fr.||6-8||195||Houston, Tex.|
|Mark Paterson||Guard||Sr.||6-1||180||Dallas, Tex.|
|Jackson Moffatt||Guard||So.||6-7||200||Magnolia, Tex.|
Baylor's player stats from the 2020-21 season
Scroll to the right to view the complete stats.
|Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua||29||0||19.3||2.6||4.6||.576||.576||–––||.773||6.4||5.0||0.4||0.5||0.7|
Baylor's style of play and expanded metrics
Baylor finished the 2021 season with the second-most efficient offense in the country, only behind the Gonzaga team that it beat by 16 points in the national championship game. The Bears led the country in 3-point percentage (41.3 percent) and fifth in offensive rebounding percentage (37.3 percent), which means they grabbed almost four out of every 10 shots that they missed, allowing for countless second-chance opportunities.
Led by arguably the best on-ball defender in the country, Davion Mitchell, who was named the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year and NABC Defensive Player of the Year, Baylor's defense forced a turnover on nearly a quarter of its opponents' offensive possessions (24.4 percent), which means the Bears maximized their offensive possessions thanks to their offensive rebounding and limited their opponents' possessions through in-your-face defense.
Baylor didn't get to the free throw line at a high percentage (it had a 26.5-percent free-throw rate, which ranked 295th nationally) and it wasn't nearly as strong on the defensive glass (274th nationally), but when the Bears were efficient, if not elite, in almost every other area of the game, it didn't matter.
Below is Baylor's kenpom.com profile from the 2021 season.
Baylor's AP Poll rankings from every week of the 2020-21 season
The complete 2021 NCAA bracket, seeds and results
The 2021 NCAA DI men's basketball tournament bracket was held entirely in the state of Indiana, marking the first men's basketball tournament since 2019, when Virginia won it all. The two finalists in 2021 — Baylor and Gonzaga — were both No. 1 seeds, while another Final Four participant, UCLA, was a No. 11 seed that played in the First Four.
Click or tap here for an interactive bracket.
Click or tap here for a printable bracket.
A game-by-game breakdown of Baylor's schedule
Nov. 28, 2020 – Baylor 112, Louisiana 82
Baylor broke the 50-point mark in both halves, scoring 53 in the opening stanza, then 59 in the second. Three starters scored in double figures, led by MaCio Teague's 21 points, while L.J. Cryer and Adam Flagler each scored double figures off the bench. Baylor made 15 3-pointers while shooting a 55-percent clip from deep.
Nov. 29, 2020 – Baylor 86, Washington 52
Despite turning the ball over 16 times and shooting just 5-for-11 from the free throw line, Baylor won by 34 as 13 different players checked into the game for the Bears. They clamped down on defense, holding Washington to 36 percent shooting from the field and 20 percent from the 3-point line.
"I'm a happy camper with the effort on the defensive end today," assistant coach Jerome Tang told the AP. "I was pleased with our guys focus.
Dec. 2, 2020 – Baylor 82, No. 5 Illinois 69
In a top-five matchup, Baylor shot roughly identical percentages to Illinois but still won by 13 points thanks to five more offensive rebounds and five fewer turnovers. Adam Flagler scored a team-high 18 points off the bench, making 6-of-11 shots.
"The last two games I thought our offense was further along than our defense," coach Scott Drew told the AP. "I think our defense has caught up more to where we were last year and you know you're going to need it to play like that every night to win games."
Dec. 9, 2020 – Baylor 83, Stephen F. Austin 52
Baylor forced 17 turnovers in the first half and 18 more in the second half, as each of Stephen F. Austin's starters had multiple turnovers. The Bears nearly had a 50/40/90 shooting game as they made 49 percent of their shots from the field, 45 percent from three and 88.9 percent from the free throw line.
"Coming off finals, I was obviously worried about the players' energy and rhythm with not practicing as much," coach Scott Drew said, according to the AP. "But I thought they did a great job. That run at the end of the first half and the beginning of the second half was really the difference."
Dec. 19, 2020 – Baylor 100, Kansas State 69
In its Big 12 opener, Baylor reached the century mark as Jared Butler had the first double-double of his career with 14 points and 13 assists. MaCio Teague led Baylor with 23 points, including 5-of-9 shooting from 3-point range.
"Butler is full of brilliance and very efficient," coach Scott Drew said, according to the AP. "I think it started on the defensive end and the offensive end followed."
Dec. 21, 2020 – Baylor 99, Arkansas Pine Bluff 42
Baylor fell one point shy of reaching the 100-point mark for the second game in a row as the Bears shot nearly twice the percentage of their opponents, from the field (52 to 28 percent) and 3-point range (47 to 27 percent). Five players reached double figures, led by L.J. Cryer's 15 points off the bench, including four 3-pointers.
Dec. 29, 2020 – Baylor 93, Central Arkansas 56
Baylor scored 53 points in the first half, then nearly doubled up Central Arkansas in the second half (40 points to 21). MaCio Teague paced the Bears offensively, scoring 20 points on 9-of-13 shooting, while three reserves scored in double figures, including Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua, who posted a 13-point, 11-rebound double-double.
"We've got great passers and playmakers, and a lot of good shot makers," coach Scott Drew said, according to the AP. "So everyone knows when you're open you want the ball, and the job of the person with the ball is to share the sugar."
Dec. 30, 2020 – Baylor 105, Alcorn State 76
Davion Mitchell posted a double-double with 10 points and 10 assists, while Jared Butler scored a team-high 17 points on an efficient 6-of-8 shooting. The Bears' bench players combined for six 3-pointers.
Jan. 2, 2021 – Baylor 76, Iowa State 65
Four of Baylor's five starters reached double figures in scoring with Jared Butler leading the way with 21 points. Both he and Davion Mitchell recorded four steals apiece, while MaCio Teague had three.
Jan. 6, 2021 – Baylor 76, Oklahoma 61
Baylor took a 17-point lead into halftime, then coasted to a 15-point victory over conference foe Oklahoma. MaCio Teague led the way offensively with 17 points, while Matthew Mayer scored 16 points and Adam Flagler chipped in 15. The Bears out-rebounded the Sooners by 11.
"Basketball is such a game of momentum and spurts. Sometimes you just need to get in a timeout ... and come back a little more focused," coach Scott Drew said, according to the AP. "We did that, and the substitutions gave us new energy, new life."
Jan. 9, 2021 – Baylor 67, TCU 49
Jared Butler exploded for 28 points on 11-of-17 shooting, to go along with an impressive stat line that included eight rebounds, five steals and four assists. Defensively, the Bears forced 22 turnovers.
Jan. 16, 2021 – Baylor 68, No. 15 Texas Tech 60
Baylor held Texas Tech to just 18 points in the first half before the two sides played to a draw after halftime, scoring 42 points each in the second half. In a game in which Jared Butler had an off-night offensively, shooting just 2-for-11, Davion Mitchell scored 17 points, while Adam Flagler added 15 off the bench.
"It just shows that we're more than capable playing these types of games and finishing out strong," Adam Flagler said, according to the AP. "It's about all of us being poised and being mature team."
Jan. 18, 2021 – Baylor 77, No. 9 Kansas 69
Despite Kansas shooting 48 percent from the field and 52 percent from three, Baylor won by eight, in large part because of Jared Butler's 30-point performance on an efficient 10-of-14 shooting performance, including seven 3-pointers.
Jan. 23, 2021 – Baylor 81, Oklahoma State 66
After facing a four-point deficit at halftime, Baylor outscored Oklahoma State by 19 points in the second half to win by 15, as Jared Butler had another big game with 22 points on 6-of-7 shooting from deep. The Bears forced the Cowboys into 16 turnovers.
Jan. 27, 2021 – Baylor 107, Kansas State 59
After beating Kansas State 100-69 in their first meeting, Baylor broke the 100-point yet again to win by 48 points. Davion Mitchell unleashed a 31-point game on the Wildcats as he made 12-of-16 attempts, including seven 3-pointers.
"Davion's worked so hard since he got here ... on being a more consistent shooter," coach Scott Drew said, according to the AP. "Last year he put in work, but if he missed one or two, it would affect him. Now he's gotten to the point mentally he has enough confidence in himself. If he misses a couple of shots, he has that shooter's confidence now to where the next one's going in."
Jan. 30, 2021 – Baylor 84, Auburn 72
In a game between Baylor guard Davion Mitchell's new team and his previous team, Mitchell was one of five double-figure scorers, led by Adam Flagler, who scored 19 points off the bench on 8-of-12 shooting.
"This was a tough game because it was emotional," coach Scott Drew said, according to the AP. "The team wanted to win it for Davion, and obviously Davion wanted to play well being a transfer from Auburn."
Feb. 2, 2021 – Baylor 83, No. 6 Texas 69
Baylor got a pair of 20-point games from Davion Mitchell (27 points) and Jared Butler (21), as the Bears made 11-of-21 3-point attempts (52.4 percent), while forcing the Longhorns into 17 turnovers.
Feb. 23, 2021 – Baylor 77, Iowa State 72
After being unable to play five consecutive games due to health and safety protocols, Baylor returned and after finding itself in a five-point hole at halftime to an Iowa State team that entered the matchup with a 2-16 record, the Bears outscored the Cyclones by 10 points after halftime to pull out the win.
"It really showed a lot of heart from our guys. I've talked to a lot of coaches that have had long pauses," coach Scott Drew said, according to the AP. "For those that have had it for reasons like us, normally they say three games until you're normal, minimum. But to come away get a win and be able to perform like we did, very very pleased with that."
Feb. 27, 2021 – No. 17 Kansas 71, Baylor 58
In its second game back from a COVID pause, Baylor's undefeated start to the season came to an end as the Bears fell on the road to the Kansas Jayhawks. Baylor only turned the ball over three times but the Bears were out-rebounded by 20 and Kansas had a field-goal percentage that was roughly 16 percentage points higher, 51.0 to 34.8.
"We had three weeks where they got worse and they had three weeks where they got better," coach Scott Drew said, according to the AP. "Even Superman has kryptonite and I guess COVID protocols are ours."
March 2, 2021 – Baylor 94, No. 6 West Virginia 89 (OT)
Baylor bounced back from its first loss of the season with an overtime win at West Virginia, as Jared Butler scored 25 points on 10-of-21 shooting and Davion Mitchell added 20, while playing a game-high 43 minutes.
March 4, 2021 – Baylor 81, No. 17 Oklahoma State 70
Matthew Mayer's 19 points and seven rebounds off the bench provided an additional scoring punch as Jared Butler scored 22 points on 8-of-14 shooting, while MaCio Teague also scored 19.
March 7, 2021 – Baylor 88, No. 18 Texas Tech 73
Four of the five Baylor starters scored in double figures, led by MaCio Teague's 35 points on an impressive 10-of-12 3-point shooting, while Mark Vital posted a 10-point, 15-rebound double-double.
"Senior nights are always nervous times for coaches, because you know it's the last time your seniors are going to be the court and it's their last memories, and you want to make it a great one," coach Scott Drew said, according to the AP. "If you wanted to draw it up, you couldn't draw it up any better."
March 11, 2021 – Baylor 74, Kansas State 68
In Baylor's first game in the Big 12 tournament, Baylor snuck past Kansas State, a team it blew out twice in the regular season, as the Bears took a two-point lead into halftime before winning by six.
"I thought we were a little tentative," coach Scott Drew said, according to the AP. "In the first game you have a little jitters. A lot of our guys hadn't played in the Big 12 Tournament. They were really excited and sometimes that makes you play hesitant. But give Kansas State a lot of credit. I thought they had a great game plan."
March 12, 2021 – No. 12 Oklahoma State 83, Baylor 74
Fueled by future No. 1 NBA draft pick Cade Cunningham's 25-point, eight-rebound, five-assist performance, Oklahoma State knocked off Baylor in the Big 12 semifinals, giving the Bears just their second (and final) loss of the season.
NCAA tournament: March 19, 2021 – No. 1 seed Baylor 79, No. 16 seed Hartford 55
Playing Hartford in its first-ever NCAA tournament appearance, Baylor took a 16-point lead into halftime, then coasted in the second half to a 24-point win. MaCio Teague scored a game-high 22 points on 4-for-8 3-point shooting, while three other players scored 12 or 13 points.
"They're probably one of the best two teams in the country, them or Gonzaga," Hartford coach John Gallagher said, according to the AP.
NCAA tournament: March 21, 2021 – No. 1 seed Baylor 76, No. 9 seed Wisconsin 63
Wisconsin played Baylor to a draw in the second half, but in an opening stanza, the Bears outscored the Badgers by 13 points. Matthew Mayer scored a team-high 17 points off the bench, while Jared Butler and Davion Mitchell scored 16 points and two 3-pointers apiece.
"We really pride ourselves on just making things hard for other teams, giving ball pressure, not making them feel comfortable, making them keep dribbling the ball and not being able to look," Davion Mitchell said, according to the AP. "I think we definitely are getting back to ourselves."
NCAA tournament: March 27, 2021 – No. 1 seed Baylor 62, No. 5 seed Villanova 51
Despite being down two players, including co-Big East Player of the Year Collin Gillespie, Villanova took a seven-point lead into halftime, but Baylor locked down defensively in the second half, led by Davion Mitchell. Mitchell also scored 14 points — the most among the Bears' starters — while reserve Adam Flagler scored a team-high 16 points off the bench.
"When we are 2-for-12 at half, we figured we've got to get inside," coach Scott Drew said, according to the AP. "We got good looks but not great looks. The guards did a great job of not settling and probing more."
NCAA tournament: March 29, 2021 – No. 1 seed Baylor 81, No. 3 seed Arkansas 72
Baylor made 8-of-15 3-pointers (53.3 percent), while Arkansas went just 3-for-11 from deep, as MaCio Teague (22 points), Jared Butler (14) and Davion Mitchell (12) led the Bears' scoring effort.
NCAA tournament: April 3, 2021 – No. 1 seed Baylor 78, No. 2 seed Houston 59
Baylor locked down defensively in the first half, holding Houston to just 20 points as the Bears took a 25-point lead into halftime at the Final Four. Baylor made 11 3-pointers, including seven combined from Jared Butler (17 points) and Davion Mitchell (12), while holding Houston to below 40-percent shooting from the field.
"Every day you're grinding, and you don't really look back. You're pressing forward," coach Scott Drew said, according to the AP, "but I'm so blessed to have these unbelievable players that bought into what we like to do with the program."
NCAA tournament: April 5, 2021 – No. 1 seed Baylor 86, No. 1 seed Gonzaga 70
Baylor won its first-ever national championship as it jumped out to an 11-1 start, took a 10-point lead into halftime and maintained the pressure in the second half, as the Bears shot 43.5 percent from deep, forced 14 Gonzaga turnovers and posted a plus-16 rebounding advantage, including 16 offensive boards. Jared Butler scored a team-high 22 points with seven assists and three rebounds, while MaCio Teague (19 points), Davion Mitchell (15) and Adam Flagler (13) each scored in double figures.
- Final Four Most Outstanding Player
- Consensus First Team All-American
- First Team All-Big 12
- Big 12 All-Defensive Team
Watch Butler's top March Madness highlights
- Naismith Defensive Player of the Year
- NABC Defensive Player of the Year
- Lefty Driesell Award
- Third Team All-American
- First Team All-Big 12
- Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year
- Big 12 All-Defensive Team
Watch Mitchell's top March Madness highlights
- Third Team All-Big 12
Watch Teague's top March Madness highlights
- Big 12 All-Defensive Team
Baylor players drafted by NBA teams after the season
- No. 9 – Davion Mitchell, Sacramento Kings
- No. 40 – Jared Butler, New Orleans Pelicans (traded to the Utah Jazz via the Memphis Grizzlies)