With so much conversation centered around basketball and brackets, we thought it would be an excellent idea to carry the format to the NBA.
But you know we couldn't just keep it simple.
Ever wondered which school has produced the best current crop of talent in the NBA? Sure you have. The Dukes, North Carolinas and Kentuckys of the world have a ton of players who spent at least one season playing for them.
In conjunction with that concept, I've constructed rosters made up of the best players from the most well-represented programs in the NBA. This means that superstars like Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Kevin Garnett aren't involved because they came straight out of high school into the NBA.
One basketball angle without LeBron isn't going to kill you.
Once I was done arranging the rosters, there were 20 schools represented in this makeshift tournament. That number doesn't work in a tournament format, so I had to have the schools with the least representation play their way into the field of 16.
The criteria for entry into this tournament was to have at least seven players in the NBA from a specific program.
To fill out the rosters for schools with less than 12 players, the fictional scrubs that make up the classic rosters were added as space fillers. None of them are rated above 60 overall, so they wouldn't really be a major factor.
The schools that were automatically in were as follows: UCLA, Kentucky, Texas, Duke, Kansas, UConn, Florida, UNC, Syracuse, Georgia Tech, Arizona, Memphis, Marquette, Washington and LSU.
The schools that had to compete in a mini-tournament to be the 16th seed were: USC, Wake Forest, Ohio State, Georgetown and Louisville.
You may be wondering what NBA teams were used to represent the schools. I tried to match it up according to region and/or jersey color. Here's how it came out with the seeds. (Q stands for qualifier)
Q-USC - L.A. Clippers (Retro) Q-Wake Forest - New Orleans Pelicans
Q-Ohio State - Cleveland Cavaliers Q-Georgetown - Washington Wizards
Q-Louisville - Atlanta Hawks (Retro) 1. UCLA - L.A. Lakers (Retro)
8. UNC - Charlotte Hornets (Retro)
9. Syracuse - New York Knicks
5. Kansas - Denver Nuggets 4. Duke - Charlotte Bobcats
12. Memphis - Memphis Grizzlies 13. Marquette - Milwaukee Bucks
2. Kentucky - Orlando Magic 10. Georgia Tech - Atlanta Hawks (Retro)
15. LSU - Atlanta Hawks (Retro) 7. Florida - Miami Heat
3. Texas - San Antonio Spurs 11. Arizona - Phoenix Suns
14. Washington - Utah Jazz 6. UConn - Boston Celtics
Now that we got that out of the way, let's get to the games.
USC vs. Wake Forest
In the opening qualifying game, the USC Trojans alumni squad led by O.J. Mayo, DeMar DeRozan and Taj Gibson took on the Wake Forest Demon Deacons alumni led by Chris Paul and Tim Duncan.
By name recognition, it sounds like Wake should smoke USC, but the Demon Deacons weren't automatically put into the field of 16 because the roster has as many placeholder players as it does real NBA players.
Would a lack of depth come back to bite them?
You bet it did, hard-nosed defense from Gibson and Nikola Vucevic in the middle helped lead the Trojans passed Wake.
Mayo was on fire from the outside scoring 20 points in the win.
The victory didn't land the Trojans in the field of 16, just yet. They would then have to face the Ohio State Buckeyes alumni, and if victorious, USC would go on to face the winner of a clash between Georgetown and Louisville.
The school that emerged victorious from that mini-tournament would be the 16th seed and face UCLA.