All Time NCAA Tournament

Saturday, March 9, 2013

CBS just did an ultimate bracket, all 74 NCAA Champs battling out to see who is the greatest NCAAChamp of all time.  I decided to fill out that bracket.  Here's my vote.  

1.       1948 Kentucky (UK had Groza and Beard, both banned for life just a few years later, they’re way too strong, they move to the Round of 32)
16. ’42 Stanford v. ’44 Utah (Stan had 6th best winning % in country, Utah 9th; Howie Dallmar was player of the tournament in ’42, then transferred to Penn.  Utah lost in the first round of the NIT a week before.  I’ll take Stanford.   )

8. ’39 Oregon (The first ever winner)
9. ’45 Ok St (Against Hank Iba and the future Ok St. them. Very little to choose from; Ok St beat Dolph Schayes in the final.  I’ll advance them to the round of 32)

1. ’48 UK v. 9. ’45 Ok St – I’ll take Beard/Groza onto the sweet 16 in a non-competitive top half of the region. 

Subregion Winner - 1. 1948 Kentucky

    5. ’41 Wisc (Super slow paced team, dominated Big 10, easy win.)
12. ’40 Indiana (IU lost the Big 10 and it would be 30+ years before that should have gotten them in the tournament, but they were named anyway.
4. ’46 Ok St (First team to go back to back, first champ with beat winning percentage in country, their five starters were first team all conference, a really strong club)
13. ’43 Wyoming v. ’47 HCross (This Wyoming team beat the NIT champ St John’s in a showdown game the following week, they advance here before losing to Ok St. )

5. ’41 Wisc v. 4. ’46 Ok St – I solidly take Ok St, that’s a dominant club.

Subregion Winner - 4. 1946 Oklahoma St.
1. ’48 UK v. 4. ’46 Ok St – This is a competitive game, Rupp v. Iba; UK has NBA players and they make it to the elite 8

                                 Advancing to Elite Eight: 1.  1948 Kentucky

Bottom half of the bracket’s largely going to be determined by SRS, strength of schedule+margin of victory.

6. ’05 UNC (28.42 SRS, best in the country – Sean May was a 7.7 win player.)
11. ’10 Duke (25.21 SRS, also best in the country, John Scheyer was an 8.1 win player, Duke’s got no NBA players, Ray Felton’s running the point for Carolina, it’s the Heels.) 

3. ’09 UNC (25.45 SRS, first in the country, Ty Lawson was a 6.9 win player, Tyler Hansbrough a 6.7 win player, and Danny Green a 6.3 win player – Lawson obviously has also been a good NBA player.  )
14. ’04 UConn(22.64 SRS, second in the country, Emeka Okafor was a monster, a 9.9 win player, Ben Gordon was also super 7.1 – who has been the best NBA player?

Gordon – 36.1 WS in 670 games
Lawson – 24.6 in 290 games
Gordon’s had more value, Lawson’s been the better player. 

This is a tight game – I’ll take Carolina’s SRS margin, but UConn having the two best players at the time is worth note. 

6. ’05 UNC v. 3. ’09 UNC – The older group has the best SRS and the best player at the time in May, Felton has 28.4 WS in 590 games, putting him above Lawson for overall value, but not as good a player.  And Lawson was a better player than Felton at the time.  May’s the best player on the floor – the depth of that 2005 Carolina team gets them to the sweet 16.

Subregion Winner - 2005 North Carolina
7. ’08 Kansas (26.89 first overall, Mario Chalmers is a 7.5 win player and then 3 more Jayhawks were 5+ wins.  In the league, Chalmers has 22 WS in 400 games)
10. ’07 Florida (23.82, second overall, Noah and Horford are both 7 win players, just as good as Chalmers, but obviously better in the league, play the game, Noah v. Horford?

Noah 42.7 WS 415 games
Horford 44.6 WS 415 games

Horford’s better.  Super close.  Super close, but you take Horford, he’s the best NBA player we’ve seen in the entire region. 

Kansas wins – they were better and deeper. 

2. ’12 UK (24.73 first overall – UK is going to win this game, too much distance – Anthony Davis was a 11.8 win player, the best in the region by a long, long way. 
15. ’06 Florida v. ’11 UConn (Florida’s got a 20.21 the year before, solidly worse, 4th overall – Noah and Horford were still their two best, Noah was the guy though, 8.4 wins,; UConn’s 17.95, 16th overall and they lose this one readily.  )

7. ’08 Kansas v. 2. ’12 UK – Kansas has the better SRS but I’ll take the best player in this circumstance, just by a million miles if I have to win the one game. 

Subregion Winner - 2012 Kentucky

6. ’05 UNC v. 2. 12 UK – same as the game before, Carolina’s got the better SRS but Kentucky has the better player – here, though, the distance between Carolina and Kentucky is really enormous, you take Felton/May/Green/McCants – the number of good players gets Carolina by the best player in the region.

Advancing to the Elite 8 - 2005 North Carolina

That leaves us with…

1.       ’48 UK v. 6. ’05 UNC – and as you’ll find, there’s almost never a good reason to take an old basketball team over a new one. 

                                    2005 North Carolina – South Regional Champs

1.       ’72 UCLA (UCLA went undefeated – here’s Walton’s line, 21.3 PPG, 15.5 Boards, .634 from the floor.  And they also had Bibby and Wilkes.  )
16. ’74 NC St v. ’75 UCLA (That’s David Thompson, NC St had the best winning percentage in the country, he averaged 26 pts a game, Tommy Burleson averaged 12 boards a game, they beat the Dave Meyers/Marques Johnson UCLA team. )
Walton 43.2 WS in 520 games
Bibby 78.3 WS in 1100 games
Wilkes 78.5 in 94 games
Wilkes had the best NBA career from that UCLA team.  They move on.

8. ’73 UCLA (Another unbeaten year, not as good as ’72, Bibby’s gone, Walton’s numbers aren’t quite as good.  )
9. ’69 UCLA (Kareem, they lost a game the senior years of Walton/Kareem…Wilkes over Rowe as second best player…Kareem obviously was a better NBA player than anyone in the game or maybe any game – this is super, super tight…both teams with point guard issues…I’ll take Walton and the unbeaten Bruins.)

1. ’72 UCLA v. 8. ’73 UCLA – One team had Bibby, the other didn’t.  ’72 wins to go to the sweet 16

Subregion Winner - '72 UCLA

5. ’67 UCLA (Kareem’s 29 PPG, 15.5 rebounds, Allen/Warren is the backcourt)
12. ’71 UCLA (The bridge between Kareem and Walton, Rowe and Bibby are both on this team, with Wicks as the star – obviously the ’67 team wins)

4. ’68 UCLA (Kareem with Allen/Warren)
13. ’70 UCLA  (Wicks/Bibby/Rowe – we just had this game, right?)

5. ’67 UCLA v. 4. ’68 UCLA – So, it’s Sophomore Kareem v Junior Kareem.  Allen/Warren as juniors vs. Allen/Warren as seniors.  Shackelford is the 4th guy – and he’s also on both teams; I’ll take the extra year of experience.

Subregion Winner - '68 UCLA

Who goes to the Elite 8?
1.       ’72 UCLA v. 4. ’68 UCLA – the two squads at full strength, Kareem and his guys vs. Walton and his guys.  I’ll take Alcindor and the 1968 Bruins. 

                Advancing to the Elite  8 - 1968 UCLA

6. ’84 Georgetown(18.75 SRS, 4th in the country )
11. ’79 Mich St (Magic vs. Ewing, MSt had the 8th best winning percentage in the country, let’s take the best player theory and say Magic advances.)

3. ’78 UK (Kentucky had the best winning % in the country, Givens/Robey/Macy, a really good basketball team, they advance.)
14. ’83 NC St v. ’85 Nova (NC St 15.22 v. Nova 12.03, I’ll take Valvano )

11. ’79 Michigan St v. ’78 Kentucky – Kentucky was much more dominant than Michigan St – I’ll take the Cats.

Subregion Winner - 1978 Kentucky

7. ’82 UNC (Jordan, 20.17 – that’s solidly above the Louisville team )
10. ’80 Louisville (15.57, Griffith)

2. ’76 IU (This is very similar to a previous game, Isiah, like Magic, is probably the best player on the floor at the time and obviously going to become the best player – but UK is better than Magic, the unbeaten Indiana team is better than Isiah’s)
15. ’77 Marquette v. ’81 IU (Isiah’s team was 21.18, Marquette wasn’t even in the top 20 for winning percentage – it’s Indiana vs. Indiana)

7. ’82 UNC v. 2. ’76 Indiana
-That Carolina team wasn’t special; their rating was solid for the time – but freshman Jordan isn’t enough for May/Benson/Abernathy/Buckner. 

Subregion Winner - 1976 Indiana

Looking at this half of the region, the two top teams seem clear.
3.’78 UK v. 2. ’76 Indiana

The UK team was really good – but really falls a little short at every turn to that Indiana club.

Advancing to the Elite 8 - 1976 Indiana

Here’s your Elite 8 matchup.

4. ’68 Bruins v. 2. ’76 Indiana
Kareem.  That’s the difference, these are two veteran solid, disciplined, smart teams with multiple good players – one of them has the greatest college player who ever lived. 

                                            West Region Winner – 1968 UCLA

Let’s go to the other half of the bracket. 

1.       ’63 Loyola (Loyola’s got the best winning percentage in the country)
16. ’58 UK v. ’59 Cal (Cal had a better winning percentage, they win here and lose to Loyola)

8. ’66 UTEP (Like Loyola, the top winning % in the country, UTEP was a solid, unspectacular team absent all of the historical significance)
9. ’62 UC (UC had the second highest winning % and was pretty similar in style to that Texas Western team, it’s a bucket either way, I’ll take UTEP)

1. ’63 Loyola v. 8. ’66 UTEP – the Loyola team actually became the first, during the season, to start 5 black players, to add to this intrigue – and Loyola knocked off Cincinnati in their title game, just as UTEP has beaten the previous year’s UC team in this tournament.  I’ll stick with UTEP.

Subregion Winner - 1966 Texas Western

5. ’60 OhSt (Had the fifth best winning percentage in the country, this is Lucas and Havlicek)
12. ’65 UCLA (top team in the country, UCLA’s second champ, but they don’t have Lucas and Havlicek)

4. ’64 UCLA (UCLA’s first champ went unbeaten, the UC team didn’t, UCLA wins)
13. '61 UC

5. ’60 Ohio St v. 4. ’65 UCLA – the Buckeyes take out both UCLA’s champs.

Subregion Winner - 1960 Ohio St.

8. ’66 UTEP v. 5. ’60 Ohio St – the Buckeyes are coming out of this half of the region.

Advancing to the Elite 8 - 1960 Ohio St.

6. ’92 Duke (24.8 SRS, 3rd best team that year. Laettner, Hurley. Grant Hill)
11. ’87 IU (20.69  Alford’s team, outmatched here)

3. ’94 Ark (23.88 for Williamson’s team)
14. ’91 Duke (24.9 for the same team that won the following year – Laettner’s the best player at the time, Hill the best player down the road – in a thriller, I’ll take Duke to set up the matchup.)

6. ’92 Duke v. 14. ’91 Duke – a tenth of a point SRS advantage to the ’91 team against the extra year of experience by the ’92 team – to find differences you’re looking at  McCaffrey for THill swap in the lineup – I’ll take that extra year and say it’s the ’92 Devils who advance.

Subregion Winner - 1992 Duke

7. ’90 UNLV –Vegas is LJ, Anthony, Augmon, Anderson Hunt – 24.45 SRS, good all around like that ’78 Kentucky team but with added explosion. 
10. ’89 Mich (27.61 – also solid, Robinson/Vaught – but Rice is the best player on the floor, and his ’89 tournament is one of the best in all 74 years – really a great game.)

2. ’93 UNC (29.04 for one of these well balanced all around teams, Montross/Lynch/Williams – Carolina wins)
15. ’86 Louis v. ’88 Kan (Ellison/Wagner were 20.64, Danny and the Miracles 15.71 - Manning’s solidly the best player but doesn’t have the great guard play that Louisville had)

10. ’89 Michigan v. 2. ’93 UNC – Here’s where Rice’s crazy tournament run beats what is otherwise a better Carolina club – both really good teams, Carolina better, deeper – but they don’t have the best player who was a monster in exactly this type of matchup. 

Subregion Winner - 1989 Michigan

6. ’92 Duke v. 10. ’89 Michigan – Michigan’s better, they have the muscle to lean on Laettner and Robinson can play with Hurley – and then there’s Rice, going to war with Hill. It’s a super, super, super game – I am sticking with this Michigan team to improbably come all the way out of the region.

Advancing to the Elite 8 - 1989 Michigan

5. 1960 Ohio St. v. 10. 1989 Michigan - Two Hall of Famers get the Buckeyes this huge rivalry win.

                   East Regional Champs – 1960 Ohio St.

1.       ’56 USF (Bill Russell.  Moving on.  )
16. ’52 Kan v. ’50 CCNY (Kansas had the better winning percentage, Clyde Lovellette is the best player in this game)

8. ’51 Kent (Number two winning % in the country, they were really special – Spivey was a 7 footer, Ramsey and Hagen wound up in the Hall of Fame, I’ll take them and they give Russell a game.)
9. ’57 UNC (Unbeaten. The McGuire’s Miracle team that beat Wilt for the title)

1. ’56 USF v. 8. ’51 Kentucky – It’s the Dandy Dons, Russell and KC Jones, UCLA before there was UCLA, they win.   

Subregion Champs - 1956 San Francisco

5. ’49 Ken (Just like in the other region, it’s Groza and Beard)
12. ’54 Lasalle (They face the monster that was Tom Gola – best player on the floor gets this one)

4. ’55 USF (Bill Russell.  Moving on.)
13. ’53 IU

12. ’54 Lasalle v. 4. ’55 USF – Gola v Russell, good matchup.  Bill Russell.  Moving on.

Subregion Champs - 1955 San Francisco

1. ’56 USF v. 4. ’55 USF – the second team was better, they outscored teams by 20 points, they went unbeaten, this is the first super team in NCAA history. 

Advancing to Elite 8 - 1956 San Francisco

6. ’95 UCLA (23.74 – Ed O’Bannon and Tyus Edney)
11. ’00 Mich St (25.04. Mo Pete’s 7.4 win shares with Cleaves as his guard, this is a really competitive matchup, I’ll say it’s Charlie Bell who is the difference and St advances.)
3. ’01 Duke (32.19, this is an all time dominant team, Battier was a 10 win player, Williams a 7 win player, then Boozer/James/Dunleavy all 5 win players)
        14. ’98 UK (22.95 – a good team, but they get wiped out by Duke)

11. ’00 Mich St v. ’01 Duke – it’s not close.  Duke. 

    Subregion Champs - 2001 Duke         

7. ’99 UConn (24.74, Rip Hamilton was a 6 win player)
         10. ’02 Mary (23.5, Juan Dixon was a 7 win player – Dixon’s the best player in the game, Hamilton becomes the best player, narrowly it’s UConn.)

         2. ’96 Ken (32.14, another monster team, Walker on the wing, Delk in the back court, McCarthy up front, they advance easily)
         15. ’03 Syr v. ’97 Ariz (Syracuse was 19.2, Carmello was a 6 win player; Arizona’s 21.6, Bibby/Simon/Jason Terry – guard play too much for Syracuse)

7. ’99 UConn v. 2. ’96 UK – Just like the other sweet 16 game, it’s not close – Kentucky.

  Subregion Champs - 1996 Kentucky

3. ’01 Duke v. 2. ’96 UK – Here’s the game on this side, really well matched teams, the top players, the supporting players – I think, by a hair, it’s Duke.

Advancing to the Elite 8 - 2001 Duke

1. ’56 USF v. 3. ’01 Duke – Russell’s the best player, both at the time and, obviously going forward – but 50 years of athletic advances means that once you’re past Russell and Jones, you don’t have guys who can play with the Devils – Russell controls the paint, but USF was ahead of its time offensively in ’56, not by the time they hit Duke.  It’s modern players. 

                           Midwest Region Champs– 2001 Duke

The Final Four
2005 UNC v. 1968 UCLA
1960 Ohio St. v. 2001 Duke

The Felton/McCants backcourt is a good matchup for the Warren/Allen backcourt – the Williams’s are reasonable comparables for Shackelford/Lynn – if you wanted to say it’s even on all sides that would be fine. 
Sean May was an excellent college player.  But he ain’t Kareem.  Moving on.

 Duke’s 32.19 is a monster number Jay Williams is just going to be too quick Carlos Boozer will be too strong, and if there’s a guy who can suppress Lucas, it’s Battier – Duke wins.

The Finals: 1968 UCLA v. 2001 Duke
                                                   Kareem.  Done.   

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