Best of the Best - 2001-2010 [NFL Games Have Started]

Discussion in 'Archive: The Arena' started by DarthIntegral, Apr 6, 2010.

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  1. DarthIntegral Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2005
    star 7
    On the heels of what some are calling the "greatest NCAA tournament ever", it got me thinking ... what are some of the greatest of all time?

    Utilizing What If Sports?, I'm going to be simulating tournaments for the best teams in the last ten years for NCAA Basketball and Football, the NFL, Major League Baseball, the NBA, and the NHL.

    As we move through each tournament, I'm hoping the great residents of The Arena provide commentary, questions, discussion, debate, reaction, and predictions.

    For all tournaments, I, as thread host will be the sole decider of format. I will also be the sole decider of seeding. All decisions will be made using whatifsports.com. I will always take the first result given, and will post a mini-recap here. More detailed recaps might be done based in later rounds.

    We're going to start with NCAA Division One Men's Basketball.

    The forty teams that reached the Final Four will be automatically entered, and given the top seeds. The champions will be given the top ten seeds, the runners-up given the next ten. Twenty-five additional teams will be selected as "at large" bids. Criteria will be subjective, but mostly based on regular season results and tournament runs.

    So ... while I ready the brackets to be released, let's see if we can get some discussion going.

    Who do you think will be the #1 overall seed?
    Who are you going to lobby for to get included that didn't make the Final Four?
    Should I give a spot to interesting players who had teams that didn't do so great in the tournament? (i.e. Texas w/Kevin Durant)
  2. Rogue...Jedi Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jan 12, 2000
    star 7
    I love this idea!

    So, for champions, we have:
    2001 Duke
    2002 Maryland
    2003 Syracuse
    2004 UConn
    2005 UNC
    2006 Florida
    2007 Florida
    2008 Kansas
    2009 UNC
    2010 Duke

    For the top overall seed... I'd look at 2001 Duke, 2005 UNC, and 2008 Kansas. Personally, I'd go 2001 Duke, 2008 Kansas, and 2005 UNC in that order, but good arguments can be made for a lot of these teams. I actually just ran the 2001 Duke team through a best-of-3 against the other 9 champions... and it won 2/3 against all 9. Actually, 2/2 against 8 of the 9, and the only team that won a game against them in that run was 2004 UConn. I'm not sure they would have been that dominant against those teams, but that I got that result is a reminder of just how good that team was.

    Now, some good teams that didn't make the Final Four: (in no particular order)
    2010 Kansas
    2010 Kentucky
    2004 St. Joseph's
    2009 Louisville
    2007 UNC
    2007 Kansas
    2002 Duke
    2006 Duke
    2006 UConn
    2006 Memphis
    2005 Duke
    2005 Washington
    2004 Kentucky
    2004 Gonzaga
    2004 Stanford
    2003 Kentucky
    2003 Arizona
    2003 Oklahoma
    2002 Cincy
    2001 UNC
    2001 Stanford
    2001 Illinois

    (most of that list were #1 seeds who failed to make the Final Four, plus a few others)

    I probably wouldn't give spots to teams who had one great player but didn't have great teams. It's a team sport, and this should be about the best teams, not the best players. That's for a mock mega-draft or something :p
  3. Darth McClain Arena Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Feb 5, 2000
    star 6
    I think that this is a really interesting idea.


    I'd probably agree with Rogue...Jedi about best teams, great players on bad to good (not great) teams.
  4. Rogue...Jedi Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jan 12, 2000
    star 7
    Also, I'd like to go ahead and name the play-in game in this tournament as the most exciting play-in game ever. Guaranteed.

    :p

    (also, something like this is where even those seeded at 16 are going to be good enough to have a shot at beating anyone else in the field, including those with #1 seeds. Still don't expect to see anything like that, but the quality of teams will be high enough that it's not out of the question)
  5. rechedelphar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 29, 2004
    star 6
    The 2005 Illinois team was better than many of those champions. They could be a 2 seed
  6. MarcusP2 Games and Community Reaper

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jul 10, 2004
    star 6
    I don't know anything about college basketball.

    However I think the inevitable NFL one is going to be the 2007 Pats vs the 2003 Pats. Unfortunately. :(
  7. Rogue...Jedi Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jan 12, 2000
    star 7
    Possibly. We'll see when we get there :p

    The 2005 Illinois team was an excellent team, and probably the best of the runner ups... but I'd probably still pick many of the champions ahead of them. 8th overall (the last 2 seed), possibly, except that isn't possible by the way Inty's seeding it. And I agree with how Inty plans to do it ;)
  8. DarthIntegral Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2005
    star 7
    The bracket has been decided. There were a lot of hard choices, and a lot of teams too close to definitively rank. In the end, I decided to go with five cinderella-type teams. These are the five lowest-ranked teams, but I honestly think any of them could pull the upset against the top four teams.

    I've also decided to take this the full way, and create (in my mind) a setting for the tournament. We'll use the current system, with pods directing you to geographical preference for top-four seeds, feeding into regional sites. I'm no going to care if a top-four team gets a disadvantage, though, as the system only gives home or neutral options (not pick a neutral court), and that's too much work to do. That said, here are the sites we'll be using:

    Final Four: Lucas Oil Field, Indianapolis, IN

    Regionals:
    South: Cowboys Stadium, Dallas, TX
    West: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
    Midwest: Ford Field, Detroit, MI
    East: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

    Opening Weekend:

    Thur/Sat:

    Louisville, KY
    Denver, CO
    Charlotte, NC
    Atlanta, GA

    Fri/Sun:

    Chicago, IL
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Washington, DC
    Tampa, FL




    And ... the four #1 seeds will be ...

    West: Kansas 2008
    Midwest: UNC 2005
    East: Duke 2001
    South: Florida 2007 (#1 Overall seed)

    Full bracket to be up a little bit later ...
  9. rechedelphar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 29, 2004
    star 6
  10. Rogue...Jedi Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jan 12, 2000
    star 7
    Florida '07? Really? I'd have called them the weakest of those four 1 seeds, back to back titles or not. And I think the whatif site agrees with me :p but we'll see how this plays out :)

    Oh, and I am interpreting you correctly that games will be simmed on neutral courts regardless of location, right? Since while top seeds may be closer to home, they are certainly not at home.

    EDIT: oh, and I watched that Florida team in person. There is no way the team I saw was the best of the past decade. Not even close :p
  11. Darth McClain Arena Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Feb 5, 2000
    star 6
    I agree, '07 Florida probably shouldn't be the number one overall seed. But seeing how things work out in the actual tournament, I'm sure that there will be a course-correction of some kind.
  12. DarthIntegral Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2005
    star 7
    R...J correct. Neutral sites, regardless. Naming them just gives some credence to them.

    Florida is given the overall #1 for a number of reasons. First of which is that they were a repeat champion, the only team to have that distinction in the decade. Second is the NBA talent on that team. Yes, other National Champs had multiple first-round picks, but they not only had three top-ten picks, but they beat a team with two top-five picks to win the title. That speaks volumes. The only blemish on the record is a late regular-season hiccup, without which they went 34-2.

    Plus, I knew it would get some conversation going. ;)
  13. Rogue...Jedi Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jan 12, 2000
    star 7
    I see 07 Florida's top picks of Horford (3), Brewer (7), and Noah (9) - the only players left from that Florida team in the NBA after a mere 3 years - and raise 2001 Duke's top picks of Jason/Jay Williams (2), Mike Dunleavy (3) and Battier (6), along with a couple other guys from that team still playing in the NBA (Boozer, Duhon) after more years (6-9, depending on which player one is talking about). Among the players Duke beat that year on the way to the Final Four: Richard Jefferson, Gilbert Arenas, and Luke Walton (Arizona); Steve Blake, Juan Dixon, Chris Wilcox, and Lonny Baxter (Maryland). Oh, and Duke won every game that tournament by at least 10 points (so did 2009 UNC, for that matter).

    Florida did play OSU (Oden, Conley, Cook) and UCLA (Darren Collison, Arron Afflalo, Mbah a Moute)

    I could also go with 2005 UNC, which featured Marvin Williams (2), Raymond Felton (5), Sean May (13), and Rashad McCants (14) and defeated Illinois, with Dee Brown, Luther Head, and Deron Williams, though the rest of their tournament was rather less impressive.

    EDIT: oh, I could also toss 2002 Maryland, featuring all four of the players mentioned above from their 2001 team. Who beat Kansas (Kirk Hinrich, Nick Collison, and Drew Gooden), and UConn (Emeka Okafor, Caron Butler, and Ben Gordon) on their way to the title.
  14. New_York_Jedi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 16, 2002
    star 6
    Marreese Speights is in the NBA and playing the 76ers, though he came out the year after them.
  15. DarthIntegral Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2005
    star 7
    And here are the brackets:

    EAST

    1. Duke 2001
    16. Xavier 2008

    (Charlotte, NC)

    8. Oklahoma 2002
    9. Marquette 2003

    4. Michigan State 2009
    13. Louisville 2009

    (Salt Lake City, UT)

    5. Indiana 2002
    12. Oklahoma 2003

    6. Texas 2003
    11. Kentucky 2010

    (Tampa, FL)

    3. Florida 2006
    14. UNC 2007

    7. UNC 2008
    10. LSU 2006

    (Washington, DC)

    2. Duke 2010
    15. Kentucky 2005

    MIDWEST

    1. UNC 2005
    16. Kent State 2002

    (Charlotte, NC)

    8. UConn 2009
    9. Oklahoma State 2004

    4. Kansas 2003
    13. Kansas 2010

    (Denver, CO)

    5. Butler 2010
    12. Duke 2002

    6. Kansas 2002
    11. Illinois 2001

    (Chicago, IL)

    3. Memphis 2008
    14. UConn 2006

    7. UCLA 2008
    10. Michigan State 2010

    (Louisville, KY)

    2. UConn 2004
    15. Wake Forest 2005

    SOUTH

    1. Florida 2007
    16. Gonzaga 2006/Xavier 2004

    (Tampa, FL)

    8. Maryland 2001
    9. Villanova 2009

    4. Arizona 2001
    13.Memphis 2006

    (Salt Lake City, UT)

    5. UCLA 2006
    12. Pitt 2009

    6. Duke 2004
    11. St. Joseph's 2004

    (Louisville, KY)

    3. Syracuse 2003
    14. Oklahoma 2009

    7. UCLA 2007
    10. George Mason 2006

    (Atlanta, GA)

    2. Maryland 2002
    15. Kansas 2007

    WEST

    1. Kansas 2008
    16. Davidson 2008

    (Denver, CO)

    8. Georgetown 2007
    9. Louisville 2005

    4. Ohio State 2007
    13.Arizona 2003

    (Atlanta, GA)

    5. Georgia Tech 2004
    12. Stanford 2004

    6. Michigan State 2001
    11. Kentucky 2003

    (Chicago, IL)

    3. Illinois 2005
    14. Kentucky 2005

    7. West Virginia 2010
    10. MIchigan State 2005

    (Washington, DC)

    2. UNC 2009
    15. Memphis 2007



    South plays West and East plays Midwest in the Final Four.

    The S-Curve went South-East-Midwest-West (Florida-Duke-UNC-Kansas-UNC-UConn-Duke-Maryland)

    I know ... it's far from perfect. There were some tough choices on teams not to include (Duke and Cincy in 2002 being among them), and I wanted to include more Cinderella teams, but couldn't justify it ... I could barely justify the five I did include. But, it's here. I'm sure you'll all have your issues with it, and that's a good thing! We're here to debate/discuss! I'll start simulating game later this week. In the meantime, that gives you time to post predictions, talk about the best/worst draws, funnest match-ups (I swear, I didn't do any on purpose, I ranked teams and then put them on the S-Curve without looking at matchups, things like Davidson-Kansas are 100% coincidental!), etc ...
  16. Rogue...Jedi Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jan 12, 2000
    star 7
    Oh, that's right. He played a whopping 6 minutes/game that year, though :p
  17. Rogue...Jedi Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jan 12, 2000
    star 7
    I like how all three UConn teams are in the same region :p

    Also, not including 2002 Duke would have been very wrong, but you did have them (Midwest #12 against 2010 Butler). 2006 Duke is probably who you meant as not included, though :p

    Also, I'm working on predicting this bracket (fresh off my kinda-sorta success this year [face_laugh])... we'll see how I do. I'll get those up late tonight or more likely, tomorrow.

    EDIT: I can count :p
  18. Darth McClain Arena Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Feb 5, 2000
    star 6
    Since this is a tourney, is it safe to take Pitt to the Sweet 16 and no further? :p


    Interesting match ups, Inty. Looking forward to seeing how this turns out.
  19. Rogue...Jedi Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jan 12, 2000
    star 7
    Ok... going through my bracket. According to the seeds, I have some major upsets happening... though in one case I really question Inty's seeding :p I didn't always pick the team I considered better to win a matchup - that's not how it ever plays out.

    (EDIT: to make this clearer - these are my picks, NOT the results of what Inty is doing. Those will come more slowly later)

    Play-in game: 2006 Gonzaga defeats 2004 Xavier

    First round:

    South Region:
    (1) 2007 Florida defeats (16) 2006 Gonzaga
    (8) 2001 Maryland defeats (9) 2009 Villanova
    (4) 2001 Arizona defeats (13) 2006 Memphis
    (12) 2009 Pitt defeats (5) 2006 UCLA
    (6) 2004 Duke defeats (11) 2004 UCLA
    (14) 2009 Oklahoma defeats (3) 2003 Syracuse
    (7) 2007 UCLA defeats (10) 2006 George Mason
    (15) 2007 Kansas defeats (2) 2002 Maryland

    West Region:
    (1) 2008 Kansas defeats (16) 2008 Davidson
    (9) 2005 Louisville defeats (8) 2007 Georgetown
    (4) 2007 Ohio State defeats (13) 2003 Arizona
    (5) 2004 Georgia Tech defeats (12) 2004 Stanford
    (11) 2003 Kentucky defeats (6) 2001 Michigan State
    (3) 2005 Illinois defeats (14) 2005 Kentucky
    (7) 2010 West Virginia defeats (10) 2005 Michigan State
    (2) 2009 UNC defeats (15) 2007 Memphis

    Midwest Region:
    (1) 2005 UNC defeats (16) 2002 Kent State
    (9) 2004 Oklahoma State defeats (8) 2009 UConn
    (4) 2003 Kansas defeats (13) 2010 Kansas
    (12) 2002 Duke defeats (5) 2010 Butler
    (6) 2002 Kansas defeats (11) 2001 Illinois
    (3) 2008 Memphis defeats (14) 2006 UConn
    (7) 2008 UCLA defeats (10) 2010 Michigan State
    (2) 2004 UConn defeats (15) 2005 Wake Forest

    East Region:
    (1) 2001 Duke defeats (16) 2008 Xavier
    (8) 2002 Oklahoma defeats (9) 2003 Marquette
    (13) 2009 Louisville defeats (4) 2009 Michigan State
    (12) 2003 Oklahoma defeats (5) 2002 Indiana
    (11) 2010 Kentucky defeats (6) 2003 Texas
    (3) 2006 Florida defeats (14) 2007 UNC
    (7) 2008 UNC defeats (10) 2006 LSU
    (2) 2010 Duke defeats (15) 2005 Kentucky

    Second Round:

    South Region:
    (1) 2007 Florida defeats (8) 2001 Maryland
    (4) 2001 Arizona defeats (12) 2009 Pittsburgh
    (6) 2004 Duke defeats (14) 2009 Oklahoma
    (15) 2007 Kansas defeats (7) 2007 UCLA

    West Region:
    (1) 2008 Kansas defeats (9) 2009 Louisville
    (4) 2007 Ohio State defeats (5) 2004 Georgia Tech
    (3) 2005 Illinois defeats (11) 2003 Kentucky
    (2) 2009 UNC defeats (7) 2010 West Virginia

    Midwest Region:
    (1) 2005 UNC defeats (9) 2004 Oklahoma State
    (12) 2002 Duke defeats (4) 2003 Kansas
    (6) 2002 Kansas defeats (3) 2008 Memphis
    (2) 2004 UConn defeats (7) 2008 UCLA

    East Region:
    (1) 2001 Duke defeats (8) 2002 Oklahoma
    (13) 2009 Louisville defeats (12) 2003 Oklahoma
    (3) 2006 Florida defeats (11) 2010 Kentucky
    (2) 2010 Duke defeats (7) 2008 UNC

    Sweet Sixteen:

    South Region:
    (4) 2001 Arizona defeats (1) 2007 Florida
    (15) 2007 Kansas defeats (6) 2004 Duke

    West Region:
    (1) 2008 Kansas defeats (4) 2007 Ohio State
    (3) 2005 Illinois defeats (2) 2009 UNC

    Midwest Region:
    (1) 2005 UNC defeats (12) 2002 Duke
    (6) 2002 Kansas defeats (2) 2004 UConn

    East Region:
    (1) 2001 Duke defeats (13) 2009 Louisville
    (2) 2010 Duke defeats (3) 20006 Florida

    Elite Eight:

    South Region championship:
    (4) 2001 Arizona defeats (15) 2007 Kansas

    West Region championship:
    (1) 2008 Kansas defeats (3) 2005 Illinois

    Midwest Region championship:
    (6) 2002 Kansas defeats (1) 2005 UNC

    East Region championship:
    (1) 2001 Duke defeats (2) 2010 Duke

    Final Four:

    (4) 2001 Arizona defeats (1) 2008 Kansas
    (1) 2001 Duke defeats (2) 2002 Kansas

    (1) 2001 Duke defeats (4) 2001 Arizona

    I'll post my own comments on this later... can you tell where I'm really questioning Inty's seeding? :p

    EDIT: fixing a seed
  20. Rogue...Jedi Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jan 12, 2000
    star 7
    Some comments:

    I see 2007 Kansas as very underrated here. Remember, its nearly the same team that won the title the next year and is one of the #1 seeds here. If they can take down 2002 Maryland, they can make some noise.

    2002 Duke is another dangerous team here - again, very nearly the same team that won the title the year before, losing Shane Battier but otherwise being a year older and more experienced.

    For the most part, I'll take my chances with the 12 seeds over the 5s here.

    2008 Kansas-Davidson is an interesting matchup, certainly... but we all know how that played out. :p Speaking of games we've seen before, my title game looks a bit familiar, as its a rematch of the 2001 title game between Duke and Arizona.

    Part of me wants to pick 2005 Wake to knock off 2004 UConn, but I already have one 15 beating a 2, and picking two of those seems a bit much :p

    The West I think plays out pretty close to true to seeding, while the South looks ripe for some upsets. Then again, how much is ANY game in this tournament really an upset? Every team in the field is exceedingly capable. I also have some early "upsets" in the East, but those teams fading a bit quicker. A little bit in the Midwest, but not quite so much. At least until 2002 Kansas (the 6 seed) knocks out the top two seeds in that region :p
  21. DarthIntegral Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2005
    star 7
    I knew I was going to underrate a team, and do so severely. And, I figured it would be a Kansas team. I think a lot of it was the bad taste they often leave in my mouth for tournament under performance. I weighed that heavily.

    That being said, I did find that ranking the teams proved a lot more difficult than I thought it would be. :p I had to do a lot of gut feelings and instincts on where to rank teams. More than I thought I'd have to.

    I really think if you're looking for upsets, it's going to be a runner-up. There were a bunch of teams taht got to the title game that really didn't have much business being there. I'm personally hoping one of the true Cinderella's pulls a 16-1 upset, but I'm doubting it.
  22. Rogue...Jedi Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jan 12, 2000
    star 7
    I'm sure - trying to seed all these teams is a really tough task, and props to you for doing it! I may disagree on a few points (2007 Florida/Kansas for example) but overall I think you did quite well :)

    I actually haven't looked at the bracket for this yet, but while I know you did the 10 champions in the top 10 spots and the 10 runners up in the next 10... did the next 20 go to the remaining Final Four teams? My first thought is that it looks like you did do it that way, but that's only looking at a very few teams, not checking very close. If so, that explains why I picked so many "upsets". It also explains why 2006 George Mason is in the spot that would go to team #40 :p
  23. DarthIntegral Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2005
    star 7
    Yes. Spots 21-40 went to the other Final Four teams. Hence why George Mason is #40 on the S-Curve. The 25 "at large" spots were awarded after that.
  24. Rogue...Jedi Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jan 12, 2000
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    Makes sense. Also explains why I didn't pick a single 10 seed to win a game, and yet picked a bunch of 11+ teams :p
  25. DarthIntegral Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2005
    star 7
    2004 Xavier 87, 2006 Gonzaga 85 (Overtime)

    Dayton, OH

    If this is what we get for a play-in game, I don't know if we can handle the rest of the tournament.

    Adam Morrison was 1-2 on buzzer-beating three pointers. Too bad for the 'Zags he missed one with the game tied at the end of regulation with the game tied, and hit one at the end of Overtime with his team down five, sending the 2004 Xavier Musketeers to a first-round game against 2007 Florida.

    Morrison had a monster game, scoring 43 points on 50% shooting from the field, including 5/9 from three ... but it's the miss at the end of regulation that will haunt him. Morrison had a hot hand coming out of the half, scoring eight early points as Gonzaga expanded a four-point halftime lead to an early 11-point lead in the second half. Both teams shot the ball well early, but a cold end to the first half (only one field goal made in the final two minutes) was a sign of what was to come for the Bulldogs in overtime, where they would only make two baskets: a tip-in from a miss, and Morrison's meaningless three at the buzzer.

    Romain Sato lead the way for the Muskateers, putting in 25 points to go along with 12 rebounds and 5 assists.
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