Last week I posted the seeding for a tournament to determine what college basketball program currently puts out the best pros. The bracket is below along with the first round match-ups that will be open to user voting until Sunday to determine who moves on to the next round.
Game 1: #9. Florida Gators v. #8. Texas Longhorns
|Center||Joakim Noah||LaMarcus Aldridge|
|Power Forward||Al Horford||Damion James|
|Small Forward||Corey Brewer||Kevin Durant|
|Shooting Guard||Mike Miller||Daniel Gibson|
|Point Guard||Nick Calathes||D.J. Augustin|
|6th Man||David Lee||T.J. Ford|
These are a couple of young rosters with a ton of talent. Florida’s strengths are obviously up front with All-Stars Al Horford and David Lee as well as the multi-talented Joakim Noah. Texas isn’t necessarily weak up front, but LaMarcus Aldridge can only do so much for this team. And that is where the two-time defending scoring champ Kevin Durant comes in. Durant is a seemingly unstoppable force, and would terrorize Corey Brewer. The difference maker in this match-up has to be in the backcourt, where Texas has the slight edge with speed and shooting. In what would be a very entertaining game to watch, I think Texas pulls this off in the end.
Game 2: #12. Ohio State Buckeyes v. #5 Kansas Jayhawks
|Center||Greg Oden||Nick Collison|
|Power Forward||Kosta Koufos||Drew Gooden|
|Small Forward||Evan Turner||Paul Pierce|
|Shooting Guard||Michael Redd||Kirk Hinrich|
|Point Guard||Mike Conley Jr.||Mario Chalmers|
|6th Man||Daequan Cook||Darrell Arthur|
As a stipulation I put forth in the first piece of this series, I will evaluate these match-ups assuming that all players in the tournament are healthy and will be playing with the skill level they posses today. As that stands, Greg Oden is still a better player than Nick Collison, Drew Gooden, and Darrell Arthur. At the same time Mike Conley Jr. is also a better pro than Mario Chalmers, both on offense and defense. Problem is, after those two guys Ohio State has a washed-up Michael Redd and draft busts in Daequan Cook and Kosta Koufos. All of this is without even mentioning that Paul Pierce would be lining up for Kansas as the best player on the court by far. Ohio State was the last team on this list and the first team out as far as I can see.
Game 3: #10. UCLA Bruins v. #7. Kentucky Wildcats
|Center||Kevin Love||DeMarcus Cousins|
|Power Forward||Luc Richard Mbah A Moute||Chuck Hayes|
|Small Forward||Trevor Ariza||Tayshaun Prince|
|Shooting Guard||Aaron Afflalo||Jodie Meeks|
|Point Guard||Russell Westbrook||Rajon Rondo|
|6th Man||Darren Collison||John Wall|
The matchup between the two winningest programs in College Basketball history will come down to some of the best young point guards and centers in the league. UCLA boasts newly minted All-Star Russell Westbrook along with Indiana Pacers starting point guard Darren Collison to control the ball, and rebound machine Kevin Love down low. Kentucky brings First Team All-Rookies John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins with defensive machine Rajon Rondo. Those three pretty much balance the others out so the difference here are the forwards. The edge goes to Kentucky with defense and experience trumping UCLA’s youth and speed.
Game 4: #11. Syracuse Orange v. #6. Arizona Wildcats
|Center||Etan Thomas||Channing Frye|
|Power Forward||Hakim Warrick||Jordan Hill|
|Small Forward||Carmelo Anthony||Andre Iguodala|
|Shooting Guard||Wes Johnson||Jason Terry|
|Point Guard||Jonny Flynn||Gilbert Arenas|
|6th Man||Donte’ Greene||Mike Bibby|
Can the ultimate one-and-done player Carmelo Anthony lead another Syracuse Orange team to another championship? This would be a tall order starting off against one of the more talented, yet undersized, squads. Gilbert Arenas, Jason Terry and Mike Bibby aren’t the players they once were, but they still are contributors on playoff teams while their counterparts are all young players that have yet to live up to their lofty expectations. I would give Anthony a better shot of pulling the upset, but he has to face off against one of the most versatile players in the league in Andre Iguodala. Up front things are pretty much a wash, and so I think the edge here clearly has to be Arizona.