The NCAA is trying to determine the greatest college basketball starting five of all-time and they’re having fans on Twitter determining the winner by a vote. A fun concept but as you’d imagine it’s turned into a “Which Team Has the Most Fans on Twitter” contest and the Cats have advanced to the title game.
Kentucky will take on the Gators, who narrowly defeated UCLA in the other Final Four match-up. Voting for that game has not yet started, but we’ll be sure to link when it does so you can help UK win this meaningless Twitter poll. It’s something we do best. But it had me thinking- which school’s all-time starting five would actually win this bracket? Could it be Kentucky? The NCAA determined the starting fives, and it seems like most fan bases have one or two issues, UK isn’t excluded.
#BBN does it again ?
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) August 15, 2018
As much as we love Tayshaun Prince and Tony Delk, do both belong on UK’s all-time starting five? Where is Jamal Mashburn? We could come up with over a hundred different lineups for UK and I’m not here to write about that, let’s just go with the five the NCAA put on UK’s team and go from there. There are also head-scratching rosters for Kansas, UNC, Duke, Louisville and plenty of other schools. The NCAA didn’t do a perfect job but let’s take what we were given.
You can search the NCAA’s @MarchMadness Twitter account to see the full rosters, but it doesn’t seem like they’re listed in one specific place. Due to time constraints we move to the Elite Eight (Dari Nowkhah voice).
East, UNC vs. Indiana: This one stayed true to form in the actual bracket, but it wasn’t easy getting here. I’m not overly impressed with Indiana’s team and think Oklahoma’s team that includes Trae Young, Blake Griffin, Buddy Hield and Wayman Tisdale would give that Hoosiers team all they could handle. I don’t see a realistic threat for UNC. Both Arizona and Maryland have intriguing teams but not enough talent to slow down Michael Jordan.
It holds true one more round as North Carolina beats Indiana to advance to the Final Four and this hypothetical game wouldn’t be close. Victor Oladipo was a great college defender but there’s no chance he could slow down Carter or Jordan. The Tar Heels win by 15+.
East Elite 8:
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) August 6, 2018
Midwest, Kentucky vs. Kansas: Okay, okay. This isn’t a great look. I’ve completed two regions and I have so far replicated the NCAA’s Elite Eight. That will change below, I promise, but I do have different roads for Kansas and Kentucky. I have Kansas beating Georgia Tech, who was blown out by Villanova. The Yellow Jackets have Chris Bosh and Stephon Marbury. Those two players alone are enough to get by Brunson, Hart and Bridges. However, it’s not enough to get by Kansas.
I actually have Louisville beating Ohio State before getting crushed by Kentucky. The Buckeyes received more votes than UofL, but I’m not so sure that game would be close. The NCAA completely whiffed picking Donovan Mitchell on the team, but the other four UofL players are solid. UK would have no issue beating Louisville to face Kansas.
I actually think Kansas 3-5 is just as good as Kentucky if not better, but Frank Mason III and Kirk Hinrich trying to guard Wall and Delk is laughable. If the NCAA did a better job picking Kansas’ two guards the Jayhawks could have advanced. UK wins by 10.
Midwest Elite 8:
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) August 7, 2018
South, Duke vs. UConn: You look at the teams in this region and you’re not blown away by prestige (Duke excluded, maybe UConn in happier times) but these are quietly great teams. This was the toughest region to pick and the overall best region. Strange because usually Duke gets a cakewalk in the NCAA Tournament. Florida will play in the championship game in the real bracket, but I think the Gators are upended by a pesky Cincinnati team. Kenyon Martin would be the best player on the floor and Jason Maxiell would be the perfect player to slow down Horford and Noah. Cincy doesn’t have enough to get by Duke in the Sweet 16.
LSU vs. Texas was really tough to pick. I think whoever won this matchup could make a deep run, although I don’t predict it. I gave LSU the slight nod because college Kevin Durant was good, but not as good as we know him today. He did not take his Longhorns deep into the tournament and we’re going off of how these players were as college athletes. LSU vs. UConn in the Sweet 16 is equally as difficult. Emeka Okafor could help slow down Shaq and I would pay a lot of money to watch Kemba vs. Pistol Pete. UConn wins on a last second Ray Allen three. Also, where was Rudy Gay and Ben Simmons?
I really think Duke’s team is great, but it’s not the best matchup with UConn. I’m not sure one Duke player would have the defensive advantage except at the four position. UConn wins by two.
South Round 1:
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) July 21, 2018
South Round 1:
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) July 21, 2018
West, UCLA vs. Georgetown: The Elite Eight matchup between the Hoyas and Bruins would be a blast, but it would be blowout city getting there. No other teams in this region would really have a change against either team. Michigan State is the only other team that makes you think but overall they don’t have the talent or muscle to beat Georgetown. The Spartans do crush Gonzaga and Wake Forest has no issues with Syracuse. I think UCLA comfortably beats Georgetown in the Elite Eight. That fans on Twitter agreed, so not much drama here.
West Elite 8:
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) August 9, 2018
Final Four: UK vs. UNC and UConn vs. UCLA.
UK beats UNC: Smith and Psycho T get abused in this matchup. You’d probably put Worthy on Davis and Hansbrough on DeMarcus Cousins. Worthy could do enough defensively to slow down Davis, but Cousins would use and abuse Hansbrough. Smith wouldn’t have a prayer slowing down John Wall. Prince could do a solid job on Jordan, but you’re not stopping him. Carter and Delk would exchange buckets for the duration of the game. UK wins by six in a tight game.
UConn beats UCLA: An upset! The Huskies defeat UCLA to advance to the championship game. Okafor would only be able to do so much against UCLA’s frontcourt, but the Bruins backcourt would have no chance slowing down UConn’s 1-3. This would be a high scoring but give me the team that has the better scorers. It’s tough to pick against Kareem Abdul-Jabbar but Walker, Allen and RIP would be too much.
Championship, UK vs. UConn: Well, here we are again. The Cats vs. Huskies. This time for all the hypothetical marbles. If you haven’t learned by this point, I love UConn’s guards. All three are great scorers and Kemba could get anywhere he wanted on the floor. I’m high on Okafor. He was the best defender in college basketball when he played and it would be a nightmare matchup for DeMarcus Cousins. Luckily for UK, Davis would erase scoring threat Donyell Marshall and the Huskies would have no one that could guard Tayshaun Prince. Prince and Davis are the difference makers in this game and UK wins by six.
We did it!