What If…

A Hypothetical NCAA Basketball Tournament

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March Madness is coming to an end and with Gonzaga and North Carolina playing tomorrow in the College Basketball National Championship, it is only fitting to imagine a “What if” tournament with some of the greatest teams that NEVER played together. With college basketball’s “One-and-Done” rule, players are allowed to “declare for the NBA Draft once they’ve competed a year of college or been out of high school for a year”.1 This rule has hurt the current system of college basketball due its new players coming and going every year. But what if, we made a bracket consisting of some of the best “one-and-dones”, which school would win the tournament? Below are four teams, Kentucky, Duke, UCLA, and Texas, all prominent teams affected by the “one-and-done” and are now collaborated into a dream team. Each team will be broken down against their opponent in a tournament-style bracket to determine the most dominant “Could’ve Been” team from the past decade.


Semi-Final 1: 2010-2013 Kentucky Wildcats vs. 2006-2008 Texas Longhorns

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 Kentucky

Point Guard John Wall (SR)
Shooting Guard Brandon Knight (JR)
Shooting Guard Eric Bledsoe (SR)
Power Forward Anthony Davis (SO)
Center DeMarcus Cousins (SR)
Forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (SO)
Forward Terrence Jones (JR)
Forward Willie Cauley-Stein (FR)
Guard Archie Goodwin (FR)
Forward Nerlens Noel (FR)

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Texas

Point Guard DJ Augustin (SO)
Shooting Guard Daniel Gibson (JR)
Small Forward PJ Tucker (SR)
Power Forward Kevin Durant (SO)
Center LaMarcus Aldridge (JR)
Guard AJ Abrams (JR)
Forward Dexter Pittman (SO)

This matchup is very intriguing. Obviously, everyone knows Kentucky and being notorious for pumping players into the NBA. For Texas, everyone recognizes Kevin Durant and LaMarcus Aldridge. Although, they are both very talented and having lucrative NBA careers, it’s hard to see how Kentucky would lose this game. With the athleticism of John Wall and Eric Bledsoe, combined with the inside brutality of Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins, they would be extremely difficult to stop. Not to even mention the strong bench with five notable NBA role players. Their depth and size gives them the edge and it’s not even close. Score: Kentucky 85 – Texas 71


Semi-Final 2: 2014-2015 Duke vs. 2007-2009 UCLA

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 Duke

Point Guard Austin Rivers (SR)
Shooting Guard Rodney Hood (JR)
Small Forward Justise Winslow (FR)
Power Forward Jabari Parker (SO)
Center Jahlil Okafor (FR)
Guard Grayson Allen (FR)
Guard Quinn Cook (SR)
Guard Tyus Jones (FR)

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UCLA

Point Guard Darren Collison (SR)
Shooting Guard Jrue Holliday (FR)
Small Forward Russell Westbrook (JR)
Power Forward Luc Mbah a Moute (SR)
Center Kevin Love (SO)
Guard Josh Shipp (SR)
Forward Alfred Aboya (SR)

Again, another very exciting matchup. This is a relatively young Duke team based on professional experience. From UCLA’s standpoint, everyone knows Russell Westbrook and what he is capable of doing every single night. That being said, UCLA gets the upset here almost single handedly due to Westbrook. Winslow is a good, scrappy defender, but would be unable to slow down #0. This Duke team would be very exciting with the athletic Jabari Parker and outside shooting of Rodney Hood and Allen, Cook, and Jones, off the bench. The Bruins just have too much offense for  the Blue Devils to slow down. Even if the game was close, who can stop Russell Westbrook in the final seconds? Score: UCLA 92 – Duke 84.


Championship: 2010-2013 Kentucky Wildcats vs. 2007-2009 UCLA Bruins

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 Kentucky

Point Guard John Wall (SR)
Shooting Guard Brandon Knight (JR)
Shooting Guard Eric Bledsoe (SR)
Power Forward Anthony Davis (SO)
Center DeMarcus Cousins (SR)
Forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (SO)
Forward Terrence Jones (JR)
Forward Willie Cauley-Stein (FR)
Guard Archie Goodwin (FR)
Forward Nerlens Noel (FR)

russell-westbrook-and-kevin-love

UCLA

Point Guard Darren Collison (SR)
Shooting Guard Jrue Holliday (FR)
Small Forward Russell Westbrook (JR)
Power Forward Luc Mbah a Moute (SR)
Center Kevin Love (SO)
Guard Josh Shipp (SR)
Forward Alfred Aboya (SR)

UCLA enters the game off a fiery performance from Russell Westbrook, getting past a good Duke team. Awaiting the Bruins is not a good, but a great Kentucky team. Kevin Love is a good defender, but both Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins would prove to be too much. Wall, Knight, and Bledsoe will get up and down the court fast and match the energy of Westbrook. As good of a passer as Westbrook is, the goal is still to keep the ball out of his hands and make his other teammates make shots. The “Bigs” of Kentucky will do what they do best and that’s protect the rim. Between them, they averaged 6.09 blocks per game2 combined for their current NBA teams. The game will be competitive, but in the end, there’s no way Kentucky loses, even in the madness of March. Score: Kentucky 74 – UCLA 69

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Notes:

1: CBSSports.com

2: Stats from ESPN.com

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