Dayton wins the Natty!

MOTSAG Pretend March Madness: Final Four Scott Style
The Final Four is set and three of the four teams are perennial powers that shocked nobody by advancing: Kansas, Gonzaga, and Michigan State.Then there was the Atlantic 10 Engine That Could, the Dayton Flyers. Always a top 25-30 team in attendance, one of the winningest teams in the NCAA in the 1960s, and the team that’s hosted the most NCAA Men’s Tournament games, Dayton, despite losing just twice — in overtime on neutral courts – was a prohibitive underdog in a rematch with another No. 1 seed, Kansas. The Jayhawks were one of two teams to beat Dayton during the regular season, with Colorado being the other.
The second matchup features Gonzaga and Sparty.

No. 1 Dayton 76, No. 1 Kansas 72: This game was just as exciting as the first meeting early in the season. Neither team could build more than a five-point lead. Kansas tried to neutralize Obi Toppin by bringing double-team help from weird angles, hoping he wouldn’t be able to kick the ball out to the open player.
But Toppin, a likely NBA lottery pick, showed that he’s more than highlight-reel dunks and silky smooth three-point chucks. He continued to find the open man, but the Flyers struggled from long range early on, looking like Shaq at the free throw line.
Meanwhile, Kansas couldn’t solve Dayton’s ball-hawking defense, turning the ball over 8 times in its first 10 possessions.
However after the under 12 media timeout, both teams made adjustments and Kansas enjoyed a 30-28 lead at halftime.
Both teams scrapped their first-half game plan in the second half and Toppin and Udoka Azubuike took over. Topping scored 20 of his team-high 25 points in the second half, while Azubuike scored all 17 of his in the second, many times going one-on-one at both ends.
Dayton tried to pull away midway through as a Jalen Crutcher three pointer gave Dayton a 50-45 lead. Kansas went on a 10-0 run in about a minute to open a 55-50 lead before Dayton eventually tied it two minutes later.
From there, the teams traded baskets, misses and turnovers, heading into the final four minutes tied 70-70.
Dayton came out of the final timeout with possession and ran the picket fence to get Toppin a three pointer. Azubuike made a layup at the other end and was fouled, but he missed the free throw keeping the score at 73-72.
That remained the score until Trey Landers buried a three pointer as the shot clock was about to expire with 14 seconds left in the game. Kansas, without any timeouts, rushed the ball up the court and got two shots off, neither of which went in and time expired sending the Flyers to their first championship game since 1967.

No. 1 Gonzaga 87, No. 3 Michigan State 44
Nobody was shocked to see Michigan State in another Final Four, the school’s ninth under Tom Izzo. But everyone had to be shocked at how easily the Bulldogs dismantled Sparty. Gonzaga jumped out to a 19-2 lead, forcing turnover after turnover, totally befuddling Michigan State.
At one point, Izzo looked over at Gonzaga Coach Mark Few and shrugged his shoulders and laughed.
Gonzaga led 42-20 at halftime and continued to sizzle in the second half, making 65 percent of its shots while turning the ball over once.
Izzo was so frustrated with his team that at the under 12 timeout, he sent his five starters to the locker room and was heard telling them not to come out until they were ready to play. Five minutes later they returned and did play better, but by then they trailed by 40. In keeping with the regular season theme, six Bulldogs scored in double figures, led by Joel Ayayi’s 15. Cassius Winston scored 20 to lead Michigan State.

Dayton 70, Gonzaga 65, OT
Dayton wins its first NCAA Men’s Tournament title by outscoring Gonzaga 5-0 in the overtime period. Gonzaga discovered that there is stoppin’ Toppin, holding him to 11 points. But the Bulldogs couldn’t figure out Crutcher and Landers, who combined for 42 points and Dayton received great support from the rest of the roster.
Ayayi again led Gonzaga in scoring, pouring in 20 points, while Filip Petrusev added 15. But the Bulldogs struggled with consistency the entire game, turning the ball over 20 times and making just 38 percent of its shots.
Dayton wasn’t that great either, committing 17 turnovers and shooting just 65 percent from the free throw line.
Leading 34-31 at halftime, Dayton started the second half on a 10-2 run to open up an 11-point lead, but Gonzaga battled back by intentionally putting Dayton at the free throw line and converting second-chance opportunities at the other end.
Gonzaga took a 45-44 lead with 11 minutes left and neither team led by more than four the rest of regulation. Both teams had chances to win the game in the final minute, but Dayton missed three free throws and Gonzaga missed a three pointer and a somewhat-uncontested layup.
Crutcher made a three pointer to start overtime and then made a pair of free throws with 10 seconds left to ice the title.

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