With the upcoming March Madness tourney about to start, I thought I’d do a “what if” post. What if college basketball players were like their football counterparts and had to stay in college for all four years!?! Think how much different the brackets would be! Would it be a no brainer to pick the Texas Durantulas? Probably not, but I’m going to run through the teams that I think would be in mix based on guys they’d still have. I’m not completely sure who the champ would eventually be, but it’s always fun to debate, and I’d have to give it to Senior Kevin Durant!
Memphis – No they wouldn’t have Derrick Rose, because he would be deemed ineligible from that whole cheating on his SAT thing. They would still have Tyreke Evans and Shawn Taggert though. Having both of these guys back would improve their defense. They already showed they could score without them, but they’d just be that much better by being able to shut down the opponents key players. I’m 99.9% sure they would’ve added to their impressive winning streak, and pushed it over 70 games.
Arizona – This could have been Arizona’s year in their conference if they could’ve held onto everyone. They would have Brandon Jennings (if he didn’t go overseas), Jerryd Bayless, Chase Buddinger, and Jordan Hill. Needless to say they would’ve dominated Cal and Washington in a weak Pac-10, of course I haven’t gotten to UCLA yet. I see this squad being VERY efficient, and giving UCLA a run for it’s money in the Pac-10 championship.
UCLA – No Darren Collison, but they’d still have Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love, and Jrue Holliday. This would be more than enough to get them deep into the tourney. I could see Love and Westbrook scoring 40-50 lf their points every game. They’d be one of my four #1 seeds.
Georgia Tech – They already have a solid building block in freshman Derrick Favors, but they’d also add Javaris Critteron and Thaddeus Young both as seniors. They were excellent when they were together, and would be one of the best open court teams in the nation. Being extremely athletic, they would test any team that came across them.
Kentucky – They don’t really bring back that many pieces that they don’t have this year, but adding a senior like Jodie Meeks would give the young guns someone to keep them in check. Meeks being in the lineup would just give that much more room for Wall to work, and if he has to kick it out, there aren’t a lot better shooters than Meeks to dish it to. I can’t give them a #1 seed since they are so inexperienced.
Kansas State – Michael Beasley and Bill Walker would no doubt make this team, one of the deepest in college basketball. Their defense would improve dramatically with both of the two additions swatting shots out of the paint. I’d even put them above inter-state rival, and #1 seed Kansas.
Syracuse – They have been great this year, but they would have a completely different look with Johnny Flynn, Donte Greene, Eric Devendorf, and Paul Harris. They would be by far the deepest team of the ones I’ve mentioned so far. Would you want to go with the pro squad or the great team they have there this season!?! Here is my 2nd #1 seed if guys stayed eligible for all three years.
North Carolina – They wouldn’t have much of a bench, but bringing back Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington, and Branden Wright would make them have a very experienced starting five. Ellington and Lawson could be one of the best backcourts in the NCAA. I want to give them a #1 seed, but the next two teams on the list are more deserving. NC gets snubbed to the best #2 seed in my mock tourney.
Ohio State – They would get a bunch of great players back in Greg Oden, Mike Conely, Daequan Cook, Kosta Koufos, and BJ Mullens. If Oden stayed healthy, they’d have the best big man, one of the best PG’s, and a great forward in Evan Turner. They’d have as good a chance as anyone in the Vegas odds to win the tourney. Clearly a #1 seed.
Texas – Ah, the Durantula would be a senior, and since he’s been averaging 30 in the NBA, there’s no reason to think he wouldn’t do that against college boys. He’d also have DJ Augustin at his side. I could see Durant making every clutch shot that was asked of him. Any close game would be his to lose, and I wouldn’t bet against his jumper no matter which league he is residing in. Texas would be your National Champs, and the final #1 seed!