Final Four takeaways: Gonzaga-UCLA an all-time tourney classic
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theScore runs down the top storylines and developments from Saturday's Final Four games and what it means for Monday's championship.

The best tournament game ever?

At the risk of becoming a prisoner of the moment, there's an argument to be made that Saturday's epic thriller between No. 1 Gonzaga and No. 11 UCLA is in the running for the best NCAA Tournament game of all time.

Now, before the freak out comes, let's consider the stakes:

  • Gonzaga going for its first perfect season since 1976
  • Bulldogs had won 29 of 30 games by double digits
  • UCLA looking to become the first No. 11 seed to make a title game
  • Bruins trying to become the first squad to go from the play-in game to the title game

An incredible offensive display concluded with both teams shooting better than 57% from the floor, and UCLA making 47% of its shots from deep. Only one game after somehow beating No. 1 Michigan while scoring just 51 points, the Bruins put up 90 and lost.

With most of college basketball lacking star power this season, Saturday's game also acted as a showcase for some of the nation's best.

Gonzaga's standout big Drew Timme was a beast for the top seed, finishing with 25 points and taking a huge charge in the dying seconds of regulation. UCLA sniper Johnny Juzang was unconscious for a stretch while producing 29 points, including the game-tying bucket with three seconds left in overtime.

And the biggest star of the night was Gonzaga's Jalen Suggs, the best NBA prospect of the bunch. The projected top-three pick showed off his wide-ranging skills throughout the contest before hitting one of the most iconic shots in NCAA Tournament history.

UCLA deserves all the applause

Jamie Squire / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The winningest college program of all time certainly can't author a Cinderella story, but the run UCLA made this year is borderline unbelievable. The Bruins finished the season with four straight losses before narrowly making the field of 68 as a No. 11 seed relegated to a play-in game. Outside of Bill Walton, virtually nobody could have predicted what happened over the past couple of weeks.

The Bruins erased an 11-point halftime deficit during the play-in game just to force overtime against Michigan State and noted March assassin Tom Izzo. UCLA prevailed in that one before comfortably taking down No. 6 BYU in the opening round. While the Bruins were fortunate to play No. 14 Abilene Christian in the second round, they left nothing to chance with a 20-point win.

The easy road would end after that, as UCLA faced a murderer's row in the next three games of No. 2 Alabama, No. 1 Michigan, and Gonzaga, the tournament's top seed. The Bruins showed off their versatility throughout by hanging 88 on the Crimson Tide, and surviving a buzzer-beater that forced their second overtime game of the tourney. Mick Cronin's outfit then locked down the Wolverines with a hard-fought 51-49 victory in the Elite Eight.

While they may have fallen short against mighty Gonzaga, the Bruins became just the second team to play three overtime games in one tournament. The Pac-12 program restored its place among college basketball's elite while bringing major attention to stars like Juzang.

Baylor on fire

Tim Nwachukwu / Getty Images Sport / Getty

It didn't take long for Baylor to establish that it has a legitimate claim to be the nation's best team.

The Bears came out flying against Houston on Saturday, absolutely torching the Cougars' vaunted defense for 45 first-half points. For perspective, Houston allowed 46 points throughout the entire game versus Syracuse in the Sweet 16. The 25-point advantage the Bears held at the break was the fourth-largest in Final Four semifinal history.

Baylor's ability to share the ball and find open looks is one of the traits that make the Bears such a tough outfit to guard for 40 minutes. Despite Houston boasting one of the country's top units defensively, Baylor finished with 23 assists as a team on Saturday - the most a squad has produced in a Final Four game since 1990.

Five Bears scored in double figures, but it was Davion Mitchell who scored or assisted on 49% of Baylor's points versus the Cougars. He's now responsible for 38% of the Bears' points during the tournament.

Gonzaga is perhaps the only team as balanced as Baylor offensively, but the Bears can certainly score with the high-powered Bulldogs. The Bears led the country in 3-point shooting as a team, connecting on a sparkling 41.8% from deep. That skill was on full display Saturday, with Jared Butler leading the charge through his 4-of-5 shooting performance from beyond the arc.

The team hit 11 triples at a 45.8% clip, serving notice to Gonzaga that letting Baylor get hot from deep could make things very tough on Monday.

Final Four takeaways: Gonzaga-UCLA an all-time tourney classic
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