Baylor's Jared Butler Named 2021 NCAA Men's Tournament's Most Outstanding Player

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVApril 6, 2021

Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Baylor's Jared Butler was named Most Outstanding Player of the 2021 NCAA men's basketball tournament as the Bears won the first national title in program history.

Scott Drew's squad blitzed Gonzaga early and didn't look back en route to an 86-70 victory Monday at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Butler was Baylor's best player, finishing with 22 points, seven assists and three rebounds. He also shot 6-of-14 from the field and 4-of-9 from beyond the arc.

The junior guard was solid all tournament, having averaged 13.8 points, 4.6 assists, 3.6 rebounds and 2.0 steals in the Bears' first five wins. His efficiency also picked up as Baylor faced its most difficult tests of the Big Dance:

Davion Mitchell (15 points, six rebounds, five assists) and MaCio Teague (19 points, two rebounds) made strong cases, more than delivering in the title game.

Assuming this is the end for Jalen Suggs at Gonzaga, it wasn't the way the freshman guard wanted to close his tenure. He was the Bulldogs' leading scorer (22 points), a performance that will only be a footnote in Baylor's victory.

Suggs will have to settle for hitting one of the biggest shots in Final Four history.

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Suggs got into foul trouble early in the first half against the Bears, picking up his second at the 16:56 mark, which summed up Gonzaga's brutal start. Drew Timme also collected his fourth foul with 11:37 left in the second half, putting a serious dent in the Zags' efforts to claw back from what was a 16-point deficit at the time.

By almost any measure, this was probably the single greatest season in Gonzaga history. But getting blown out in the championship game closed the year on a sour note, and the feeling was exacerbated by the loss of its unbeaten record.

For Butler and Baylor, however, the celebrations were only beginning.