The NCAA Tourney NBA-style

21 03 2009

I love the NBA, but don’t find the same enthusiasm to root for NCAA basketball. I realize that I’m likely in the minority, but this time of year doesn’t excite me the same way as it does others. March Madness does not exist in the Stack household!

One aspect of college ball that does excite me is checking which pro players each program produces (say the latter part of that sentence three times as fast as you can). Have you ever wondered which college has the best collection of active NBA players? Ever thought about who might win a tournament featuring NBA players representing their alma maters? Well, here are eight squads which have the most enticing 7-9 man rotations of NBAers.


C – Emeka Okafor 

F – Josh Boone, Charlie Villanueva, Rudy Gay, Caron Butler 

G – Ben Gordon, Rip Hamilton, Ray Allen

Why I like them: They have four legitimate NBA stars and Okafor and Gordon are very solid professionals. This team has tons of scoring power.

Why I don’t like them: Their backcourt defense, although Okafor and Butler are pretty good. Boone can bang down low.


C – Elton Brand

F – Carlos Boozer, Shane Battier, Grant Hill, Luol Deng

G – Corey Maggette, Mike Dunleavy, J.J. Redick, Chris Duhon

Why I like them: I feel like this would be one of the smartest, most disciplined teams. 

Why I don’t like them: Lack of size and lack of an alpha dog. Who takes over? I suspect Maggette has the attitude to do so, but do you want him as the Big Dog?

North Carolina

C – Brendan Haywood, Rasheed Wallace

F – Antawn Jamison, Marvin Williams, Brandan Wright

G – Rashad McCants, Jerry Stackhouse, Vince Carter, Raymond Felton

Why I like them: Lots of size and enough athleticism. 

Why I don’t like them: No particular reason, actually. Even with Vince and Wright, there might be quicker, faster teams. But this team is pretty versatile.


C – Dan Gadzuric

F – Kevin Love, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Matt Barnes, Trevor Ariza

G – Russell Westbrook, Jordan Farmar, Baron Davis, Jason Kapono

Why I like them: They’re fast as hell. This team would run all over the place. And there’s enough Ben Howland guys that they could buckle down defensively.

Why I don’t like them: I had to pick Gadzuric over Arron Afflalo to have size. Love is an awesome rebounder, but this team might get pushed around down low.


C – Channing Frye

F – Richard Jefferson, Luke Walton, Andre Iguodala

G – Mike Bibby, Jason Terry, Jerryd Bayless, Gilbert Arenas

Why I like them: This team would run and score the whole time. You gotta love Terry, Iguodala, Jefferson, Bibby and Bayless running teams down. 

Why I don’t like them: Arenas used to be a superstar, but who knows how good he is now? If he’s healthy, this team would kick ass offensively. Just no defense, though.


C – Chris Mihm

F – Kevin Durant, Maurice Evans, LaMarcus Alridge

G – T.J. Ford, D.J. Augustin, Daniel Gibson, Royal Ivey

Why I like them: Durant and Alridge would be a really fun tandem to watch. Durant might be the best player in this fake tournament.

Why I don’t like them: No backcourt size, so they would get posted up by bigger backcourts like UCONN or North Carolina.


C – Al Horford

F – David Lee, Udonis Haslem, Joakim Noah, Marreese Speights, Matt Bonner

G – Mike Miller, Corey Brewer, Anthony Roberson 

Why I like them: This team has tons of size, so they’d rebound really well. 

Why I don’t like them: They wouldn’t be able to score if the other team was drinking from a keg near their bench. Miller and Bonner can shoot, but Roberson would have to be their main ballhandler.


C – Nick Collison, 

F – Paul Pierce, Drew Gooden, Julian Wright, Darrell Arthur, Darnell Jackson

G – Kirk Hinrich, Jacques Vaughn

Why I like them: Nice mix of veterans and youth, and Pierce is a Big Dog.

Why I don’t like them: They’re probably the least talented team, especially in the backcourt. 

Overall, I think the best four teams are UCONN, UNC, UCLA and Arizona. UCONN and UNC probably would be the best two from that group, and UCONN should be the best team. When you can run a starting five of Okafor, Gay, Butler, Allen and Rip with Gordon and Villanueva coming off the bench, you’re dangerous. 

Three teams I thought about but didn’t include were LSU, Memphis and Kentucky. 

LSU is interesting with Shaq, Stro Swift, Anthony Randolph and Ty Thomas. No team could match that frontline, but LSU doesn’t have a guard in the NBA — unless you want Big Baby Davis at the point guard spot.

Memphis could be very good, with Derrick Rose throwing oops to Rodney Carney and Chris Douglas-Roberts. Aside from Rose, though, there’s not enough high-level talent.

Kentucky just sucks. Rajon Rondo and Tay Prince are good, but the rest are a collection of marginal big men and/or shooting guards.




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