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A March Madness sticker for the NCAA college basketball tournament is placed on a window in downtown Indianapolis, Wednesday, March 17, 2021. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

No. 1 Baylor Faces Tough Sweet 16 Test In No. 5 Villanova

The No. 1 Baylor Bears and No. 5 Villanova will face off in a Saturday Sweet Sixteen matchup.

Baylor Bears Continue To Succeed

Baylor guard Mark Vital (11) gets a dunk against Wisconsin in the first half of a second-round game in the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Sunday, March 21, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

One of the teams that is expected to be in the Sweet 16 is the Baylor Bears. Baylor finished the season with a 24-2 overall record, earning a one-seed for the NCAA March Madness Tournament. In the first round Baylor comfortably beat 16-seed Hartford 79-55.

In the second round Baylor handled a dangerous Wisconsin Badgers team that has proved to be a tournament threat in recent years. The Bears have one of the deepest rosters in the country, led by guards Jared Butler, MaCio Teague, and Davion Mitchell; each of whom are averaging more than 14 points per game. Baylor will need to play its best basketball if they want to get past their next opponent, as it is a team that has won two of the last four NCAA tournaments.

Baylor head coach, Scott Drew spoke very highly of Villanova coach Jay Wright, and the entire Villanova basketball program.

Villanova Wildcats Ready For Challenge

The Villanova Wildcats won the 2016 NCAA Tournament as a two-seed, and won the 2018 NCAA Tournament as a one-seed. In 2021, an inconsistent regular season, highlighted by injury issues, led to Villanova earning a five-seed for the NCAA Tournament. Villanova came into March Madness after having been upset in the Big East Tournament by an under .500 Georgetown team. So far in the tournament the Wildcats have not faced a team seeded better than 12.

Villanova’s Justin Moore (5) is defended by North Texas’ Javion Hamlet (3) during the first half of a second-round game in the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Sunday, March 21, 2021, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Villanova faces a new kind of challenge in the Sweet Sixteen with Baylor. First and second round opponents Winthrop and North Texas were a good test of nerves. However, Baylor has consistently played like one of the best teams in the country all season, and Villanova will need to step up their game to compete.

Villanova is without star guard Collin Gillespie who suffered a season-ending knee injury on March 3rd. The Wildcats will need big production from sophomore guard Justin Moore, senior forward Jermaine Samuels, and leading scorer sophomore forward Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, in order to compete against the Bears without Gillespie.

Villanova head coach Jay Wright, spoke with the media about being considered an underdog.

What Is At Stake For Each Team

The Baylor Bears are looking to make their first Elite Eight appearance since 2012. The Villanova Wildcats are looking to make their third Elite Eight in the last five years. Will Villanova’s experience help them upset one of the best teams in the country? Or, will Baylor’s deep roster prove to be too big of a challenge for the Wildcats to overcome. Tune in to the CBS Network on Saturday at 5:15 p.m. eastern, to find out.

About Jason Myers

Jason Myers is a dedicated sports journalist that covers the entire world of sports. Myers currently studies Journalism at the University of Florida, and will be graduating this upcoming May, 2021.

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