Thoughts on the Baylor-Houston Game in the Final Four of the 2021 NCAA Tournament
April 4th, 2021
By Alan Lu
Yesterday, I took the time to watch Baylor and Houston go at it in the Final Four of the 2021 NCAA Tournament. Most people expected Baylor to win, and handily at that, and that is basically what happened. Houston’s sophomore guard, Marcus Sasser made things interesting at first, as he scored on 12 quick points by making four threes early on, but the Cougars could not keep up with Baylor’s hot shooting and strong all-around play, and Baylor ended up blowing out Houston to win by double digits. Jared Butler especially impressed in this game, and he played very well overall. Here are my thoughts on how Butler and other various prospects fared on this day.
Baylor’s junior guard, Jared Butler had a strong showing in his team’s win over Houston. He did a terrific job of knocking down shots, and he also had a good all-around game to help lead his team to get the victory. Butler really excelled at knocking down three-pointers to provide floor spacing for his team on offense. He would make quick, spot-up threes off the catch, and he would take advantage whenever he would the time and space to get his shot off. He also ran off of a pin-down to make a three-pointer from way out. Plus, he also managed to score on a strong drive in transition, while getting an extra free throw. He also managed to score on a backdoor cut to the hoop. Sometimes though, he would miss shots in traffic, as he would occasionally try to force up tough shots around the basket.
Also, he displayed adequate playmaking skills. Butler showed a solid ability to pass off the dribble, and he tended to throw crisp interior passes to set up plenty of scoring chances for his teammates. Sometimes though, he would throw inaccurate passes that would go astray, as he had a pass get intercepted, and he also threw another pass that ended up out of bounds. He also had a ball get poked away early on when handling it, as he can sometimes struggle to handle heavy ball pressure. He also did a solid job of rebounding the basketball. Butler was quite active at crashing the glass, and he would chase down boards to help his team get rebounds on both ends of the floor.
Butler also played good defense in this game. He was able to rip a ball away on a drive to get a steal, and he would poke balls and deflect passes away to nearly get others. He also has good quickness to consistently stay in front of his man, and he would contest drives to force misses. On the downside, he struggled a bit to guard shooters. He was late to get out to contest a three-point shot, which led him to allow a score that time. Another time, he bit on a pump fake, and he over-compensated by fouling an opponent on a pull-up three, as he was too aggressive on closing out on that play.
In general, Jared Butler played very well, and he is an agile, skilled sharpshooter that shot the ball very well in his team’s win over Houston. He scored 17 points, made 4 threes, and he also had 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals in this game. He played very well to help his team get the victory, and he is a skilled playmaker that could be a solid pick for an NBA team in the mid to late first round range in the 2021 draft.
Baylor’s junior guard, Davion Mitchell had a solid showing in his team’s win over Houston. He passed the ball very well, and he played very good defense in this game. He excelled as an outside shooter, but he struggled to consistently score inside the arc, but he still managed to get a double-double to help his team get the victory. Mitchell did a good job of knocking down jumpers to space the floor for his team, particularly from beyond the arc. He showed a knack for making pull-up threes, and he also made a nifty step-back three in this game. He also was able to make a long-range shot from the corner. Plus, he also used a crafty pump fake move to draw free throws on a mid-range jumper. On the downside, he struggled to consistently knock down mid-range jump shots, and he also struggled to score off the dribble when he would take the ball hard to the basket.
He showcased terrific playmaking skills in this game. He did a tremendous job of finding open shooters to rack up assists due to possessing good court vision. He is a good passer off the dribble, and he also would throw sharp interior passes to find teammates on the move to set up scores for them. Mitchell dished out 11 assists, and he also did not turn the ball over once on offense. Though he did not grab many rebounds in this game, Mitchell was able to chase down balls to get a pair of defensive boards.
He also played very good defense. Mitchell was able to intercept a pass to get a steal, and he also poked a ball away to nearly get another. He often would contest threes to force misses, and he also contested a shot off of a drive to get another stop for his team. On the downside, he would sometimes struggle to defend opponents off the dribble, which would lead him to commit touch fouls. Another time, he over-helped off of his man, and he was late to rotate back, which led his team to allow a three-point basket. Overall, Davion Mitchell really excelled as a facilitator and defender in his team’s win over Houston. He is an athletic, skilled playmaker that had a solid all-around game, and he could be a solid pick for an NBA team in the mid first round in the 2021 NBA Draft.
Houston’s sophomore point guard, Marcus Sasser also put forth a good performance in his team’s loss to Baylor. He scored 20 points, and he also made 5 threes in this game. Sasser did a great job of knocking down threes to provide floor spacing for his team on offense. He showed a knack for making deep threes, and he really excelled at knocking down quick, spot-up threes off the catch. He also used a pump fake to get a defender in the air in order to draw three free throws another time. He also showed an adequate ability to score off the dribble. Sasser used a nice hesitation move to score on a drive to the hoop, and he also used a jab step to score another time. He tended to favor going to his right to score the basketball. On the downside, sometimes he would rush his shots, which would lead him to miss badly off the glass.
Also, he showcased fairly average at best playmaking skills. Sasser didn’t look to pass the ball very often, but he was able to throw a crisp interior pass to notch an assist. Sometimes though, he would struggle to handle the ball when crowded, and there was one play where he had a ball poked away to nearly commit a turnover. He also dropped a pass that led his team to commit a turnover another time.
Also, Sasser did an adequate job of rebounding the basketball, and he was fairly active at crashing the glass. However, he struggled defensively. He struggled to guard shooters in this game. He would tend to give up too much space to them, and there was one play where he didn’t even contest a shot, which would cause him to allow opponents to score on three-point shots. Another time, he bit on a pump fake, and he ended up fouling an opponent on a mid-range shot.
Overall, Marcus Sasser played well, and he played the best among any Houston player that played in this game. He will still need to improve his playmaking and defensive skills, but he is an agile combo guard whose scoring skills could make him an intriguing option to consider in the second round on draft day.
Baylor’s MaCio Teague played fairly well in his team’s win over Houston. He scored 11 points and he also had 6 assists in this game. He did a good job of scoring off the dribble, and he would tend to prefer going to his left to score and draw free throws. He also was able to make a step-back mid-range jumper. Plus, he also managed to score on a tip shot around the basket.
Also, Teague was able to make an open corner three, but he struggled to make threes in this game, especially when he would take pull-up threes off the dribble. He also passed the ball very well in this game. He would throw crisp interior passes, and he did a good job of finding teammates on the move. He also would make smart drive and kick passes to set up scores for his teammates. Though he didn’t get many rebounds, Teague was able to get a pair of defensive boards.
He also played adequate defense. Teague was able to steal a ball away from an opposing ball handler. He also contested a pull-up three to force a miss. On the downside, he would sometimes struggle to defend drives, which would lead him to commit touch fouls. He also sagged too far off an opponent on a switch another time, which led his opponent to score on a three-point shot.
Overall, MaCio Teague passed the ball very well, and he made solid team plays to help his team get a double-digit victory over Houston. He sometimes can tend to fade into the background a bit, but he has been a solid role player on his team. Currently, he projects to be a borderline second round candidate in the 2021 draft.
Baylor’s Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua is a very athletic, energetic big man that excelled at scoring on hustle plays, and he also made an open mid-range jumper. He also rebounded the ball very well, and he also applied heavy ball pressure to help force a steal another time. He had 11 points and 6 rebounds for his team off the bench, and Tchamwa Tchatchoua is an athletic big man that could project to be a defensive specialist in the NBA.
Houston’s 6-5 junior guard, Quentin Grimes didn’t have his best game, as he struggled to make threes, but he still scored 13 points in his team’s loss to Baylor. He excelled at scoring on mid-range jumpers, as he can make them off the catch or dribble, and he also ran off of a curl to score on a mid-range shot off the catch in this game. Grimes also excelled at scoring on left-handed drives, and he can draw fouls upon his defenders to get to the free throw line. He ran off the ball to make a quick three from way out. He also drew three free throws after pulling up to take a three-pointer another time. On the downside, Grimes really struggled to make threes in this game, as he had trouble finding his rhythm from out there in this game.
Also, he displayed fairly average playmaking skills. Grimes is an unselfish player that will look to find the open man, and he was able to drive and drop off a pass to find a teammate around the basket due to possessing solid court vision. Sometimes though, he would throw inaccurate passes, as he threw a pass that went between his teammate’s legs that ended up out of bounds, and he also got picked off another time.
Grimes didn’t grab many rebounds in this game, but he was able to haul in a pair of defensive boards. Defensively, he looked to be about above average in this game. Grimes intercepted an errant pass to get a steal. He also blocked a three-point shot. He would sometimes contest threes to force misses. Sometimes though, he would be late to defend shooters, which would cause him to allow them to score on three-point shots, and there was one play where he didn’t even contest a corner three. He also got beat off the dribble another time, which caused him to foul his man on that play.
Overall, Quentin Grimes didn’t play very well in this game, but he had some good moments at times. His defensive effort came and went, and he would sporadically, but not always give great effort on that end. Still, his lackluster showing in this game shouldn’t dampen the fact that he still had a solid NCAA Tournament overall. Despite this game, I was impressed with how well Grimes played towards the end of the season, and his improved outside shooting, confidence, and playmaking skills make him an intriguing prospect for the NBA. I think Grimes has turned himself into a solid second round prospect, and he could project fairly well into a 3 and D role similar to Memphis Grizzlies’ guard, Dillon Brooks in the association.
Baylor’s Matthew Mayer played well off the bench in this game. He excelled at making spot-up threes, and he shot the ball well, especially from out on the perimeter. He also scored on a quick put back. Plus, Mayer scored on a tough, fallaway layup off the dribble, but he struggled to consistently score on drives, as he had trouble scoring in traffic. He also was fairly turnover prone, as he would sometimes get sloppy with his ball-handling, which would lead him to commit ball-handling turnovers.
He did a decent job of rebounding the basketball. Defensively, he looked to be about average at best. He deflected a pass to nearly get a steal. He also rotated to contest a drive to force a miss. He struggled to defend opponents off the dribble at times, which would cause him to commit fouls and allow scores. He also landed into his opponent’s landing space once as he was too aggressive on a close out, and he ended up fouling his man on a three-point shot. Overall, Mayer is an athletic, energetic forward that has been gaining traction as a draft prospect this year. He hasn’t played enough in games, but he is a skilled forward whose size, shooting and scoring skills could make him an intriguing option to consider in the second round whenever he decides to enter the NBA draft.
Baylor’s 6-3 sophomore guard, Adam Flagler played fairly well in this game. He showed versatile scoring skills, as he can make jumpers and scoring on strong drives, but he also missed on a tough, fallaway layup, as he can tend to force the issue a bit on offense. He rebounded the ball well, and he also contested mid-range shots to force misses. Overall, he is an agile combo guard that can score and rebound the basketball, and he will be a vital bench player to watch in the National Championship game.
Houston’s 6-5 senior guard, DeJon Jarreau probably needed to play well in this game to prove to NBA teams that he should get drafted in the 2021 draft, but he did not play well against Baylor in this game. He played too wildly, as he tended to miss jumpers, and he would take tough, contested shots off the dribble that would miss. Jarreau did make a couple of tough, pull-up jumpers from the mid-range, but he struggled to consistently make shots from that range. He did score on a quick, tip-in after leaping up to grab an offensive rebound.
He also was quite turnover prone on offense. He would throw inaccurate passes that would go out of bounds or intercepted. Jarreau also struggled to handle the ball in traffic, and he would be too careless and casual with the ball, which would lead him to commit a series of ball-handling turnovers. Though he didn’t grab many rebounds, he was able to leap up to grab a board on each of the floor. On the other hand, he was called for committing an over the back foul when going for an offensive board. He also struggled defensively in this game. While he was active on the defensive end, he would tend to be caught ball watching. He would sag too far off of shooters, and he also trailed his man on a cut to allow a score. He also would sometimes commit reach-in fouls in trying to go for steals.
Overall, Jarreau has played well all year long, but this was probably the worst game that he’s played in a while. This game definitely does not help his draft standing, but he’s also played many games at the collegiate level, which can let NBA teams and scouts to decide for themselves if they would like to draft him or not. Jarreau is a tall, athletic playmaker that has defended well at the collegiate level, but he hasn’t always been the most consistent shooter or offensive player. He has shown an improved outside shot this season, but in this game, he was prone to bouts of wildness that led him to take bad shots and to commit careless turnovers. Right now, Jarreau is a solid prospect that had a very good senior season, and he could end up being a solid role player similar to Los Angeles Lakers’ guard, Alex Caruso in the NBA.
Houston’s senior forward, Justin Gorham didn’t take many shots, but he is an athletic, hustle guy that would grab rebounds, find open shooters to get assists, and he also excelled at getting steals and blocking shots. He was able to make a fadeaway mid-range jumper, and he also scored on a high-post drive. He struggled to consistently create his own shot, as he would get balls poked away, and he also was called for traveling shortly after using a solid pump fake around the basket. Overall, Gorham will need to expand upon his shooting range and skill set offensively, but his motor and defensive skills could allow him to carve out a career in professional basketball, as he could end up in the G-League and/or overseas even if he doesn’t make it to the NBA one day.