64-Player March Madness NBA Legends vs. Current Stars Tourney, Center Edition

Peter EmerickSenior Writer IIApril 1, 2012

64-Player March Madness NBA Legends vs. Current Stars Tourney, Center Edition

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    With the 2012 NCAA Tournament behind us, and Anthony Davis, the eye-browed wonder hoisting the NCAA title, it's time to ensure that March Madness lives on with another 64-player NBA legends vs. current stars one-on-one tournament. 

    What we have here is a tournament that matches 32 NBA center legends against 32 NBA current center stars, with the style of the tournament mirroring the exact setup of the NCAA March Madness tournament.  

    This classic tournament provides fans with matchups we've dreamed of seeing, like Dwight Howard vs. Shaquille O'Neal, Tim Duncan vs. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Patrick Ewing vs. Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain vs. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and many more.

    The legends and the current stars are split up into regional brackets based on the individual players' rankings that you will find in the next slide.

    Get ready for an epic tournament that's bound to cause some controversy.  

How Players Were Seeded

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    The NBA legends and NBA current stars were separated into 32-player pools, where they were ranked from No. 1 to 32.

    Based on those rankings, I picked one legend, then one current star, then one legend, then one current star and the rest of the selection process followed that form.

     

    32-Player NBA Legend Rankings

    1.  Bill Russell
    2.  Shaquille O'Neal
    3.  Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
    4.  Wilt Chamberlain
    5.  Hakeem Olajuwon
    6.  George Mikan
    7.  Moses Malone
    8.  David Robinson
    9.  Patrick Ewing
    10.  Willis Reed
    11.  Robert Parish
    12.  Wes Unseld
    13.  Bill Walton
    14.  Bob McAdoo
    15.  Elvin Hayes
    16.  Nate Thurmond
    17.  Bob Lanier
    18.  Yao Ming
    19.  Jerry Lucas
    20.  Dikembe Mutombo
    21.  Bill Laimbeer
    22.  Alonzo Mourning
    23.  Brad Daugherty
    24.  Mark Eaton
    25.  Bill Cartwright
    26.  Ralph Sampson
    27.  Vlade Divac
    28.  Rik Smits
    29.  Tree Rollins
    30.  Gheorghe Muresan
    31.  Manute Bol
    32.  Shawn Bradley 

     

    32-Player Current NBA Stars Rankings

    1.  Dwight Howard
    2.  Andrew Bynum
    3.  Tim Duncan
    4.  Marc Gasol
    5.  Al Jefferson
    6.  Greg Monroe
    7.  DeMarcus Cousins
    8.  Tyson Chandler
    9.  Roy Hibbert
    10.  Joakim Noah
    11.  Marcin Gortat
    12.  Andrew Bogut
    13.  Serge Ibaka
    14.  Al Horford
    15.  Brook Lopez
    16.  JaVale McGee
    17.  Nene Hilario
    18.  Chris Kaman
    19.  Andrea Bargnani
    20.  DeAndre Jordan
    21.  Anderson Varejao
    22.  Jermaine O'Neal
    23.  Spencer Hawes
    24.  Nikola Pekovic
    25.  Marcus Camby
    26.  Robin Lopez
    27.  Brendan Haywood
    28.  Samuel Dalembert
    29.  Chris Anderson
    30.  Byron Mullins
    31.  Ben Wallace
    32.  Emeka Okafur 

How the Tournament Works: Rules and Guidelines

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    Here are the official game rules for the NBA legends vs. NBA current stars one-on-one tournament:  

    1. Game is to 25 points. A player must win by two points.

    2. All shots are worth one point (like any true one-on-one game).

    3. Fouls are called by the defender and result in a change of possession.

    4. Shot clock is set at 24 seconds.

    5. All defensive rebounds that aren't air balls must be taken back past the three-point line.

    6. Game is "make-it take-it" rules.  

    Now that the official rules have been set, let's move on to the player seedings.

    Remember, this is about players in a one-on-one situation, not a ranking of greatest centers in NBA history.

North Division Seeding and Matchups

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    North Division Seeding

    (1) Bill Russell
    (2) Tim Duncan
    (3) Hakeem Olajuwon
    (4) DeMarcus Cousins
    (5) Patrick Ewing
    (6) Marcin Gortat
    (7) Bill Walton
    (8) Brook Lopez
    (9) Bob Lanier
    (10) Andrea Bargnani
    (11) Bill Lambier
    (12) Spencer Hawes
    (13) Bill Cartwright
    (14) Brendan Haywood
    (15) Tree Rollins
    (16) Ben Wallace 

     

    First-Round North Division Matchups

    (1) Bill Russell vs. (16) Ben Wallace
    (2) Tim Duncan vs. (15) Tree Rollins
    (3) Hakeem Olajuwon vs. (14)  Brendan Haywood
    (4) DeMarcus Cousins vs. (13) Bill Cartwright
    (5) Patrick Ewing vs. (12) Spencer Hawes
    (6) Marcin Gortat vs. (11) Bill Lambier
    (7) Bill Walton vs. (10) Andrea Bargnani
    (8) Brook Lopez vs. (9) Bob Lanier  

South Division Seeding and Matchups

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    South Division Seeding

    (1) Dwight Howard
    (2) Shaquille O'Neal
    (3) Al Jefferson
    (4) Moses Malone
    (5) Roy Hibbert
    (6) Robert Parish
    (7) Serge Ibaka
    (8) Elvin Hayes
    (9) Nene Hilario 
    (10) Jerry Lucas
    (11) Anderson Varejao
    (12) Brad Daugherty 
    (13) Marcus Camby
    (14) Vlade Divac
    (15) Chris Anderson 
    (16) Manute Bol

     

    First-Round South Division Matchups

    (1) Dwight Howard vs. (16) Manute Bol
    (2) Shaquille O'Neal vs. (15) Chris Anderson
    (3) Al Jefferson vs. (14) Vlade Divac
    (4) Moses Malone vs. (13) Marcus Camby 
    (5) Roy Hibbert vs. (12) Brad Daugherty
    (6) Robert Parish vs. (11)  Anderson Varejao 
    (7) Serge Ibaka vs. (10) Jerry Lucas
    (8) Elvin Hayes vs. (9) Nene Hilario 

East Division Seeding and Matchups

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    East Division Seeding

    (1) Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
    (2) Marc Gasol
    (3) George Mikan 
    (4) Tyson Chandler
    (5) Willis Reed 
    (6) Andrew Bogut
    (7) Bob McAdoo
    (8) JaVale McGee
    (9) Yao Ming
    (10) DeAndre Jordan 
    (11) Alonzo Mourning
    (12) Nikola Pekovic 
    (13) Ralph Sampson 
    (14) Samuel Dalembert
    (15) Gheorghe Muresan
    (16) Emeka Okafur 

    First-Round East Division Matchups

    (1) Kareem Abdul-Jabbar vs. (16) Emeka Okafur
    (2) Marc Gasol vs. (15) Gheorghe Muresan
    (3) George Mikan vs. (14) Samuel Dalembert
    (4) Tyson Chandler vs. (13) Ralph Sampson 
    (5) Willis Reed vs. (12) Nikola Pekovic
    (6) Andrew Bogut vs. (11) Alonzo Mourning
    (7) Bob McAdoo vs. (10) DeAndre Jordan 
    (8) JaVale McGee vs. (9) Yao Ming 

West Division Seeding and Matchup

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    West Division Seeding

    (1) Andrew Bynum
    (2) Wilt Chamberlain
    (3) Greg Monroe
    (4) David Robinson
    (5) Joakim Noah
    (6) Wes Unseld
    (7) Al Horford
    (8) Nate Thurmond
    (9) Chris Kaman
    (10) Dikembe Mutombo
    (11) Jermaine O'Neal
    (12) Mark Eaton
    (13) Robin Lopez
    (14) Rik Smits
    (15) Byron Mullins
    (16) Shawn Bradley 

     

    First-Round West Division Matchups

    (1) Andrew Bynum vs. (16) Shawn Bradley 
    (2) Wilt Chamberlain vs. (15) Byron Mullins
    (3) Greg Monroe vs. (14) Rik Smits
    (4) David Robinson vs. (13) Robin Lopez
    (5) Joakim Noah vs. (12) Mark Eaton
    (6) Wes Unseld vs. (11) Jermaine O'Neal
    (7) Al Horford vs. (10) Dikembe Mutombo
    (8) Nate Thurmond vs. (9) Chris Kaman 

North Division 1st Round: No. 1 Bill Russell vs. No. 16 Ben Wallace

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    Bill Russell is one of the all-time great centers to ever grace the game. Ben Wallace, on the other hand, is one of the greatest defensive centers in the game, but unfortunately for him, he can't do much more than that.

    Wallace's career average of 5.8 points per game hails in comparison to Russell's 15.1 average, and his inability to score will be the major reason why Russell will absolutely dominate this first-round matchup.

    Wallace will get some stops defensively because of his size and strength, but he won't do too much with those opportunities, as his offensive talents are among the worst in the NBA.

    Russell will show why he was such a special player back in the day with an impressive and dominant first-round beatdown of Wallace.

    Bill Russell 25  Ben Wallace 6

North Division 1st Round: No. 8 Brook Lopez vs. No. 9 Bob Lanier

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    Brook Lopez and Bob Lanier are very similar players. Both of them weigh in around seven feet and 255 lbs., and they shoot the ball with an impressive efficiency of around 51 percent from the field.

    This first-round matchup will be extremely competitive, as both players have a decent outside jumper that will certainly stretch the court and make for an interesting meeting.

    The real difference-maker in this game will be the physicality of Lanier's game, as compared to Lopez. While Lopez has a 10-15 lbs. size advantage over Lanier, there's no doubt that Lanier is the more physical of the two players, and that's what gives him the slight edge here.

    Lopez struggles the most when players play physical and strong against him, and that's exactly what Lanier will do. Lanier will pull off the first "upset" of this tournament by knocking off Lopez.

    Bob Lanier 25  Brook Lopez 21

North Division 1st Round: No. 3 Hakeem Olajuwon vs. No. 14 Brendan Haywood

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    Here's a lopsided matchup that features one of the greatest and most versatile centers to ever play the game against a veteran center who's never truly reached his full potential.

    No matter how you look at this first-round matchup between Hakeem Olajuwon and Brendan Haywood, there's no way around the fact that it will be an absolute blowout in favor of Olajuwon.

    Olajuwon averaged 21.8 points per game on 51.2 percent shooting during his career as compared to Haywood's averages of only 7.3 points per game on 53.5 percent shooting.

    While Haywood is a little more efficient, he's not nearly as productive or versatile, and that's what will give Olajuwon the massive advantage in this lopsided first-round matchup. Hakeem "The Dream" will show why he's one of the greatest players of all-time with a first-round beatdown of Haywood.

    Hakeem Olajuwon 25  Brandon Haywood 9

North Division 1st Round: No. 4 DeMarcus Cousins vs. No. 13 Bill Cartwright

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    DeMarcus Cousins and Bill Cartwright are two very different players. Cousins is a young, hybrid PF/C that can shoot the ball, and Cartwright is a center in the truest definition of the position.

    What DeMarcus Cousins lacks in experience and maturity, he makes up for in the versatility and athleticism that he brings to the game. Bill Cartwright, on the other hand, isn't very versatile, but he is experienced and consistent, which is why this first-round matchup will be a fun one to watch.

    While Cartwright is the more efficient player of the two, with a career shooting percentage of 53.5 percent, as compared to Cousins' 43.5 percent average, there's no doubt that Cousins will be able to stretch the court and hit outside jumpers, making it hard for Cartwright defensively.

    This one will be close throughout, but ultimately, Cousins will take down Cartwright with his athleticism and ability to play the game outside the paint. 

    DeMarcus Cousins 25  Bill Cartwright 20

North Division 1st Round: No. 5 Patrick Ewing vs. No. 12 Spencer Hawes

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    Patrick Ewing against Spencer Hawes is an interesting matchup, but it's one that will certainly not end with a first-round upset.

    Ewing and Hawes are very equally sized, weighing in at around seven feet and 240 lbs., but Ewing undoubtedly uses his size more to his advantage than Hawes does, as Hawes prefers to stay outside of the paint.

    With his ability to hit outside shots, Hawes will keep this game competitive through the first few possessions, but once Ewing decides to take the game over in the paint, he will easily do just that.

    Ewing's experience and physicality in the paint will set him apart from Hawes in this matchup, and it will be at the foundation for his continued success throughout this tournament as well.

    Patrick Ewing 25  Spencer Hawes 15

North Division 1st Round: No. 6 Marcin Gortat vs. No. 11 Bill Laimbeer

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    Marcin Gortat and Bill Laimbeer are almost mirror images of one another, minus the bald head and atrocious Michael Jordan tattoo of Gortat.

    Both players are seven-footers and weigh in at around 240 pounds. The main difference in their games is Laimbeer's ability to hit mid-range jumpers and the fundamental approach that Laimbeer brings to the game.

    Gortat, on the other hand, is a powerful big man that earns his paycheck banging in the paint, and that's why he will keep this matchup competitive throughout.

    Ultimately, Laimbeer's fundamentals will carry him to victory over the younger and more athletic Gortat, who will be overwhelmed by Laimbeer's unassuming physicality on both the offensive and defense side of the ball.

    Bill Laimbeer 25  Marcin Gortat 22

North Division 1st Round: No. 7 Bill Walton vs. No. 10 Andrea Bargnani

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    Wow, Bill Walton is one ugly-looking guy. Lucky for him, this tournament has nothing to do with looks and everything to do with basketball skills.

    In addition to being odd-looking, Walton is one of the best centers in the history of the NBA, with a career double-double average of 13.3 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. Andrea Bargnani, on the other hand, is an up-and-coming center who focuses more on his versatility as a shooter than he does his seven-foot frame in the paint.

    The main difference between the play of Walton and Bargnani, aside from Walton's dominance in the paint, is the efficiency at which Walton shoots the ball.

    While Bargnani can stretch the court with his shooting ability, his lack of efficiency, to the tune of only 43.4 percent from the field, will ultimately hold him back. Walton will escape this potential first-round upset, but just barely.

    Bill Walton 25  Andrea Bargnani 21

North Division 1st Round: No. 2 Tim Duncan vs. No. 15 Tree Rollins

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    If this was a battle of which player had the cooler name, the nod would go to Tree Rollins over Tim Duncan, but unfortunately for Rollins, this tournament is about basketball skill.

    Duncan will absolutely dominate every aspect of this matchup in what might be the most lopsided first-round game of the entire tournament.

    Rollins was best known for his tenacity on the defensive side of the ball, but that won't be enough to take down "The Big Fundamental." Rollins' career average of only 5.8 points per game shows his ineptitude on the offensive side of the ball, which will ultimately be his downfall.

    Duncan will give Rollins a first-hand lesson on what a polished post-game and turnaround jumper looks like on his way to an absolutely dominant first-round victory.

    Tim Duncan 25  Tree Rollins 5

South Division 1st Round: No. 1 Dwight Howard vs. No. 16 Manute Bol

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    Simply coming out of this matchup with Dwight Howard without serious injury will be a victory for Manute Bol, and that's certainly all that he will be trying to do.

    At 7'7'' and 200 pounds, Bol is much taller than Howard, but also much smaller than Howard. Bol never grew into his massive frame, and he never really put any polish on his skill-sets as a professional basketball player.

    Dwight Howard will use and abuse Bol for the longevity of this matchup, allowing Bol to get the ball offensively only once or twice.

    Howard will show Bol what it looks like to be a truly developed and dominant center in the ranks of the NBA. Howard will absolutely destroy Bol in this matchup that very well could end up being a shutout.  

    Dwight Howard 25  Manute Bol 2

South Division 1st Round: No. 2 Shaquille O'Neal vs. No. 15 Chris Anderson

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    Shaquille O'Neal vs. Chris Anderson is a lopsided matchup to say the least, as it pits an all-time great against a player known more for his crazy tattoos than his impressive production on the court.

    While Anderson isn't a bad basketball player, he isn't nearly on the same level as O'Neal.

    There's no way around the fact that O'Neal will absolutely dominate this matchup, as his size, strength and post-up game will be way too much for Anderson to handle.

    In a not-so-shocking turn of events, O'Neal will destroy Chris "The Birdman" Anderson on his way to solidifying himself as one of the best big men to ever play in the NBA.

    If Anderson gets to his career average of five points per game, I'll be shocked.

    Shaquille O'Neal 25  Chris Anderson 4

South Division 1st Round: No. 3 Al Jefferson vs. No. 14 Vlade Divac

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    Al Jefferson will go down in history as one of the most underappreciated players in the history of the NBA. All he's done is quietly average 16.2 points and 8.9 rebounds per game throughout his eight-year NBA career on his way to an amazing zero All-Star appearances. Talk about underappreciated!

    Vlade Divac, on the other hand, was an international sensation who averaged 11.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game on his way to earning one All-Star appearance and a spot in the FIBA Hall of Fame.

    While both players are good in their own respects, it's clear that Jefferson has more athleticism and more versatility in his game than Divac does.

    Divac will rely on his mini-sky hook to earn him this first-round upset, but it won't be nearly enough to stop Jefferson from escaping out of the first round. 

    Jefferson will stretch the court with his ability to hit mid-range jumpers and overpower Divac with his athleticism on his way to an impressive first-round win.

    Al Jefferson 25  Vlade Divac 16

South Division 1st Round: No. 4 Moses Malone vs. No. 13 Marcus Camby

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    Moses Malone and Marcus Camby are two similar players, as they both earned their paychecks by banging in the paint with serious strength and tenacity. 

    The only difference between Malone and Camby is that while Camby probably earned more money than Malone throughout his career, Malone ultimately was the better and more productive player of the two.

    The explosive offensive production that Camby's never had in his game is exactly what makes Malone such a special player, with a career average of 20.3 points per game.

    While Malone is a little bit smaller than Camby, he will still be able to beat him in the paint, as he has more fines and polish on his post-game.

    Malone will run away with this one late in the matchup.

    Moses Malone 25  Marcus Camby 16 

South Division 1st Round: No. 5 Roy Hibbert vs. No. 12 Brad Daugherty

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    Brad Daugherty and Roy Hibbert are very similar players, as they are both at least seven feet tall and difficult to handle in the paint.

    Hibbert has a pure athleticism that Daugherty never had, but Daugherty, on the other hand, has a polish to his post-game that Hibbert has yet to develop.

    This will be one of the most competitive first-round matchups, ultimately coming down to which player can get the ball last and score on his final two possessions.

    If Hibbert was a little more polished in the paint, I'd give the advantage to him, but since he hasn't developed that yet, the advantage in this matchup goes to Daugherty.

    Daugherty moves on to the second round with a big-time upset, proving that he's deserving of some serious respect when it comes to all-time best centers in the NBA.

    Brad Daugherty 25  Roy Hibbert 23 

South Division 1st Round: No. 6 Robert Parish vs. No. 11 Anderson Varejao

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    Best known for his days with the Boston Celtics, Robert Parish is considered one of the best centers in the history of the NBA mainly because of his versatility, efficiency and size.

    Varejao, on the other hand, is remembered more for his wacky hair and ridiculous hustle than his polish on the offensive side of the ball.

    Parish is regarded as one of the best, if not the best seven-foot shooter in the history of the NBA, with a career shooting percentage of 53.7 percent, and that's exactly why he'll dominate this first-round matchup.

    Varejao won't make it easy for Parish, though, as he'll be a handful for Parish on the defensive side of the ball, making Parish earn every basket that he gets. Parish, though, will use his speed and athleticism to move on to the second round of this tournament.

    Robert Parish 25  Anderson Varejao 12 

South Division 1st Round: No. 7 Serge Ibaka vs. No. 10 Jerry Lucas

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    People are going to hate this, but in the end, Serge Ibaka will come out on top against an NBA Hall-of-Famer, in Jerry Lucas, and he'll do so by overwhelming him with athleticism.

    Ibaka is an absolute monster, weighing in at 6'8'' and 235 pounds while remaining one of the most explosive and athletic talents in the NBA. While he's not as polished as other centers in the league, he's certainly quickly developing his offensive skills, and that will show in this matchup.

    Lucas, on the other hand, is one of the most decorated players in NBA history, and he earned those honors with career averages of 17 points and 15.6 rebounds per game. Unfortunately for him, he never went up against a player like Ibaka, and Ibaka's athleticism will overwhelm him.

    This matchup will be close throughout, but in the end, Ibaka's freakish athleticism will take over the game, putting Lucas on lockdown on the defensive side of the ball and elevating to the rim on the offensive side of the ball.

    While seeding-wise an Ibaka win isn't an upset, it certainly is one when you consider the talent that Ibaka beat.

    Serge Ibaka 25  Jerry Lucas 22 

South Division 1st Round: No. 8 Elvin Hayes vs. No. 9 Nene Hilario

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    Elvin Hayes is an undersized center, weighing in at 6'9" and 230 pounds, but what he lacks in size he makes up for in pure hustle and athletic ability. 

    Nene Hilario, on the other hand, is bigger than Hayes, but he certainly isn't as offensively gifted as Hayes. Nene earns his paychecks by using his size to clear space in the paint, whereas Hayes rooted his legacy in athletic versatility on the offensive side of the ball in spite of his lack of size. 

    Hayes size, though, didn't keep him from accumulating impressive career totals of 21 points and 12.5 rebounds per game, and his explosive offensive talent will carry him to victory of Nene in this first-round matchup.

    Hayes will stretch the court with his ability to hit mid-to-long range shots, while also being able to slash into the paint and finish with some impressive fines. Nene's size will actually be a disadvantage for him, as Hayes will have the athletic advantage here.

    Elvin Hayes 25  Nene Hilario 17 

East Division 1st Round: No. 1 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar vs. No. 16 Emeka Okafur

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    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is easily one of the greatest players in the history of the NBA, regardless of the position he or any other player has played.

    He's tall, aptly-sized and most importantly, he developed and perfected the most unblockable shot in the world, the sky-hook.

    The only realistic way to stop Jabbar is to keep the ball out of his hands, and that's something that the unpolished Emeka Okafur won't be able to do. While Okafor is a physical center in his own right, he won't know how to handle Jabbar's offensive polish.

    Jabbar will run away with this matchup early on, proving that he's easily one of the favorites to win this entire tournament.

    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 25  Emeka Okafor 8

East Division 1st Round: No. 2 Marc Gasol vs. No. 15 Gheorghe Muresan

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    Marc Gasol against Gheorghe Muresan is a battle of two solid international players, with Gasol having the decided advantage.

    While Muresan isn't nearly as bad as a lot of other seven-footers, with career averages of 9.8 points and 6.4 rebounds per game, there's no doubt that he's still not as polished or complete of a center as Gasol.

    Gasol has serious offensive skill that is exemplified by an impressive ability to step out of the paint and hit mid-range shots with ease.

    While Muresan's size will fluster Gasol early on, there's no doubt that Gasol will be able to dominate this game by exploiting Muresan's lack of athleticism and strength. Another massive seven-footer goes down, as Gasol dominates Muresan in every aspect of this matchup.

    Marc Gasol 25  Gheorghe Muresan 10

East Division 1st Round: No. 3 George Mikan vs. No. 14 Samuel Dalembert

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    If you've ever been involved in a basketball practice, you undoubtedly have heard of the drill where you rapidly shoot mini-hoop shots, called the "Mikan Drill".

    That drill exists because of George Mikan's absolute dominance in the paint, solidified by being able to hit those mini-hook shots with ease, and that's the same kind of shot that will help him dominate the underwhelming Samuel Dalembert.

    In his NBA/BAA career, Mikan averaged an impressive 23.1 points and 13.4 rebounds per game, but he only shot 40.4 percent from the field, which will hold him back later on in this tournament.

    While Dalembert will be able to slow Mikan down with his versatility on defense, he won't have nearly the offensive production he needs to beat Mikan in this first-round matchup.

    George Mikan 25  Samuel Dalembert 14 

East Division 1st Round: No. 4 Tyson Chandler vs. No. 13 Ralph Sampson

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    Tyson Chandler and Ralph Sampson both never really achieved their full potential in their NBA careers, as Chandler lacks offensive polish to his game, and Sampson, a three-time NCAA Player of the Year, never became the MVP caliber many expected him to be.

    Sampson at 7'3'' and Chandler at 7'1'' are both adequately-sized centers, but throughout their careers, Sampson developed more offensive polish than Chandler has, and that's ultimately going to be the difference in this matchup.

    Chandler will give Sampson difficulty on the defensive side of the ball with his athleticism and strength, but he won't be able to score the points he will need to make it past Sampson.

    Sampson will use his height advantage to hit jumpers over Chandler, which will ultimately help him come out on top in this first-round upset.

    Ralph Sampson 25  Tyson Chandler 16 

East Division 1st Round: No. 5 Willis Reed vs. No 12. Nikola Pekovic

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    Nicola Pekovic has developed into an impressive center this season, with averages of 13.5 points and 7.4 rebounds per game, but he hasn't ever played against a center like Willis Reed.

    Reed is a Hall-of-Famer that averaged a double-double throughout his NBA career, with 18.7 points and 12.9 rebounds per game, and he earned those impressive averages by outworking every player around him on the court.

    Reed's infamous work ethic on the court will help him beat Pekovic in this first-round matchup, as Pekovic just doesn't have enough polish in his game yet to beat a player on the level of Reed.

    Pekovic will also have a hard time overcoming Reed's trademark defensive pressure, which helped him earn first and second-team defensive honors throughout his career.

    Reed will show Pekovic that he has a long way to go until he's considered a top center in the NBA.

    Willis Reed 25  Nikola Pekovic 14

East Division 1st Round: No. 6 Andrew Bogut vs. No. 11 Alonzo Mourning

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    Alonzo Mourning is one of the most underappreciated players in the history of the NBA, as he consistently outworked everyone by playing with intensity and tenacity every time he stepped on the court.

    Andrew Bogut, on the other hand, is a seven-foot center that knows how to use his size to his advantage and get easy points in the paint. Bogut's biggest weakness is his inconsistency on the defensive side of the ball, and that's what will ultimately cost him this matchup.

    Mourning, who's arguably one of the best defensive centers in NBA history, will give Bogut fits when the ball is in his hands, and once Mourning starts to frustrate Bogut, the game will be over.

    While both players shoot around 52 percent on their careers, the advantage offensively goes to Mourning, as he's more physical and more consistent with his talent in the paint. Mourning scores the upset here, as he shows Bogut that he's not ready yet for the spotlight.

    Alonzo Mourning 25  Andrew Bogut 17

East Division 1st Round: No. 7 Bob McAdoo vs. No. 10 DeAndre Jordan

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    Bob McAdoo was one of the original big men in the NBA that was able to step outside of the pain and hit mid-range jump-shots with ease. McAdoo was the precursor to players like Kevin Garnett, Dirk Nowitzki and many more.

    DeAndre Jordan is the completely opposite player. He earns his paycheck in the NBA by banging in the paint and throwing down put-back slams with serious force. While Jordan is the more physical player, there's no way that he will be able to overcome McAdoo's versatility.

    McAdoo will win this matchup on the perimeter, where he will be able to exploit Jordan's lack of perimeter defense.

    In this first-round matchup, McAdoo will put his impressive abilities on display, as he proves why he is one of the greatest and most versatile centers to ever play the game.

    McAdoo dominates this matchup and shows Jordan that he's not ready to compete with the best of the best.

    Bob McAdoo 25  DeAndre Jordan 10 

East Division 1st Round: No. 8 JaVale McGee vs. No. 9 Yao Ming

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    JaVale McGee vs. Yao Ming is an incredibly odd matchup, but it's one that would certainly be fun to watch.It pits an inexperienced, immature and undeveloped talent in McGee against one of these best international centers to ever play the game.

    While a nine seed for Ming might be too low, he at least got a favorable first-round matchup, and one that he will undoubtedly dominate.

    The best part of this matchup will be watching how McGee tries to overcome Ming's impressive size and strength, at 7'6'' and 310 pounds. I'm expecting to see a number of failed dunk attempts and horrible air balls, but that's just part of McGee's game.

    McGee has a lot of potential, but until he realizes that potential, there's no realistic way that he could hang with Ming, who would absolutely obliterate him in the paint.

    Yao Ming 25  JaVale McGee 13

West Division 1st Round: No. 1 Andrew Bynum vs. No. 16 Shawn Bradley

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    A one-on-one tournament that involves all-time great centers wouldn't be complete without one name --Shawn Bradley.

    Unfortunately for Bradley, he finds himself in one heck of a matchup against the young and powerful Andrew Bynum.

    While Bynum hasn't truly realized his full potential yet, he's developing into one of the best centers in the game today, with season averages of 18.3 points and 12.2 rebounds per game. Bynum's size alone, weighing in at 285 pounds, will be too much for Bradley to handle.

    Even though Bradley has a few inches on Bynum, he won't be able to bang in the paint with Bynum, just like he never could with big centers during his NBA career.

    Sadly, Bynum will dominate Bradley from the start of this game, ultimately sending Bradley home, courtesy of a serious beatdown.

    Andrew Bynum 25  Shawn Bradley 7

West Division 1st Round: No. 2 Wilt Chamberlain vs. No. 15 Byron Mullins

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    Just making it into this tournament is a victory for Byron Mullins, and that's going to be the only victory that he gets as he faces off against Wilt "Mr. 100" Chamberlain.

    Mullins is an athletic seven-footer who's never really realized any of his potential in the NBA.

    While part of his problem is the fact that he currently plays for the Charlotte Bobcats, he also doesn't use his size to his advantage, often times backing down from physicality in the paint.

    Wilt Chamberlain, on the other hand, used his size night in and night out to overwhelm defenders, and that's what he will do against Mullins.

    Chamberlain will dominate Mullins from the moment this game starts, scoring at will and making it nearly impossible for Mullins to score when/if he has the ball in his hands.

    Wilt Chamberlain 25  Byron Mullins 3

West Division 1st Round: No. 3 Greg Monroe vs. No. 14 Rik Smits

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    Greg Monroe is one of the most promising center prospects in the NBA today, as he's adequately-sized and he's also athletic enough to create mismatches outside of the paint.

    Rik Smits, on the other hand, is a seven-footer who knows how to score the ball form nearly anywhere on the court inside the three-point line. Smits isn't the most physical center in the world, but he's one of the most intelligent, and that will help him in this matchup against Monroe.

    Smit's 7'4'' and 250-pound frame will be tough for Monroe to handle on the defensive side of the ball, and while Monroe is a versatile offensive player, Smits' size will make it hard for him when it comes to getting to the rim and scoring.

    This matchup will be close throughout, as both players will undoubtedly score in waves, with the game being decided on which player can amp up the defensive pressure.  In a shocking turn of events, that player will be "The Dunking Dutchman."

    Smits will earn one of the biggest upsets of the tournament, barely beating Monroe.

    Rik Smits 25  Greg Monroe 22

West Division 1st Round: No. 4 David Robinson vs. No. 13 Robin Lopez

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    Enter David "The Admiral" Robinson" into this epic tournament. Robinson finds himself in extremely favorable first-round matchup against Robin Lopez.

    Lopez isn't a bad player, but he's a raw talent that hasn't yet figured out what kind of center he wants to be in the NBA.

    With averages of 5.7 points and 3.2 rebounds per game, he's going to have a very difficult time producing against Robinson, who's one of the most physical centers of all-time.

    Robinson will overwhelm Lopez defensively, and he will also show Lopez what a developed outside jumper looks like.

    Robinson's efficiency on the offensive side of the ball will be too much for Lopez to handle, as he will show Lopez what it looks like to be a complete and consistent center in the NBA.

    David Robinson 25  Robin Lopez 6 

West Division 1st Round: No. 5 Joakim Noah vs. No. 12 Mark Eaton

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    Joakim Noah and Mark Eaton are similar players, as they both are role players that fit perfectly into the teams that they play with.

    Noah's intensity on the defensive side of the ball and athleticism on the offensive side of the ball makes him a perfect fit for the Bulls, and Eaton, with his massive body, fit nicely aside Karl Malone in the Jazz's offense during the late 80s and early 90s.

    While both players aren't necessarily dominant centers, there's no doubt that Noah is the more productive of the two, with season averages of 9.7 points and 9.8 rebounds, as compared to Eaton's career averages of six points and 7.9 rebounds.

    Noah's veracity will overwhelm Eaton on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball, and it will be at the foundation of his first-round win.

    Joakim Noah 25  Mark Eaton 14

West Division 1st Round: No. 6 Wes Unseld vs. No. 11 Jermaine O'Neal

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    Wes Unseld should win this tournament just based on that picture alone. The bad news for Unseld is that this tournament isn't based on pictures alone. The good news, though, is that he has a favorable matchup against Jermaine O'Neal.

    While Unseld is significantly undersized, at just 6'7'' and 235 pounds, he's able to utilize his lack of size as a strength for his game, as he makes up for it with tenacity on the defensive side of the ball and athleticism on the offensive side of the ball.

    O'Neal, on the other hand, is aptly-sized at 6'11'' and 255 pounds, but he's never truly focused his game on his size. Instead, he developed a silky-smooth jumper that he will use to keep this first-round matchup extremely competitive.

    The difference-maker here will be which player plays with more physicality, and that player is undoubtedly Unseld. He will stop O'Neal defensively, more than O'Neal is able to stop him, and that's what will help him survive this potential upset.

    Wes Unseld 25  Jermaine O'Neal 20

West Division 1st Round: No. 7 Al Horford vs. No. 10 Dikembe Mutombo

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    Finally, the finger waving Dikembe Mutombo enters the tournament. The bad news for him, though, is that he finds himself in a difficult first-round matchup with one of the best centers in the game today in Al Horford.

    Horford is clearly the more dominant offensive player of the two, while Mutombo is more dominant on the defensive side of the ball. Unfortunately for Mutombo, he can't win the game with defense alone; he will have to score the ball, and he won't be able to do that.

    Horford has developed into a productive post-up center in the NBA, with career averages of 12.8 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. His ability to post-up Mutmbo and hit perimeter shots over him will be the ultimate difference maker in this game.

    Mutmbo will undoubtedly be able to pull off some blocks on Horford, which will result in fans seeing his epic finger wag, but that won't be enough for him to make it out of the first round. 

    With a win over Mutombo, Horford will prove that he has the potential to be the best center in the Atlanta Hawks history.

    Al Horford 25  Dikembe Mutombo 15

West Division 1st Round: No. 8 Nate Thurmond vs. No. 9 Chris Kaman

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    The final matchup of the first round pits Nate Thurmond against Chris Kaman in what will be a competitive meeting between the two All-Star players.

    Thurmond is one of the most underrated centers in the history of the NBA, with averages of 15 points and 15 rebounds per game. What makes that production that much more impressive is the fact that he produced at that level against guys like Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell.

    Chris Kaman, on the other hand, has been a consistent producer in the NBA, but he's never really turned the corner and realized his full potential. That doesn't change the fact that he has what it takes, with impressive post moves, to stay competitive with Thurmond in this matchup.

    While Thurmond is undersized as compared to Kaman, he will use his athleticism to his advantage, making it difficult for Kaman to keep up with him on the offensive side of the ball.

    Thurmond's biggest asset in this matchup will be his tenacity on the defensive side of the ball, which will give him the opportunities he needs offensively to put Kaman away with his signature mini-hook.

    Nate Thurmond 25  Chris Kaman 17 

North Division 2nd Round: No. 1 Bill Russell vs. No. 9 Bob Lanier

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    Kicking off the second round, we've got Bill Russell against Bob Lanier. Russell retired one year before Lanier's career started, which robbed fans of epic showdowns between these two all-time great centers.

    Lanier comes into this matchup with two inches and nearly 35 pounds on Russell, and while that will give him an immediate advantage, that alone won't be enough to take down the No. 1 overall seed in this tournament.

    Lanier certainly has what it takes to take down Russell, as he's the more productive offensive player and he's also the more efficient offensive player, but the one thing Lanier lacks is athleticism and quickness, which is at the foundation of Russell's excellence.

    Russell will use his quickness and lack of bulk to his advantage, as he will wear Lanier down outside of the paint while finishing at the rim with fines against Lanier.

    Russell is a proven winner, with 11 NBA Championships to his name, and he will carry that winning mentality into this incredibly tough and close win over Lanier.

    Bill Russell 25  Bob Lanier 22 

North Division 2nd Round: No. 5 Patrick Ewing vs. No. 3 DeMarcus Cousins

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    Patrick Ewing and DeMarcus Cousins are similar players, as they both have legitimate jump-shots as a part of their offensive skill-sets, but the one thing that sets Ewing apart from Cousins is his toughness on the defensive side of the ball.

    Ewing earned three NBA All-Defensive second team honors, and that same defensive focus will be at the foundation of a second-round victory over the younger and more inconsistent Cousins.

    In addition to his defensive focus, Ewing also is a more efficient offensive player than Cousins, with a career shooting percentage of 50.4 percent as compared to Cousin's average of just 43.5 percent. 

    While Cousins will be able to stay in the game early on with his versatility on the offensive side of the ball, once Ewing touches the ball, he will be extremely difficult for Cousins to stop.

    Ewing will again show the world why he's considered one of the most dominant centers in the history of the NBA, earning his ticket to the Sweet 16 with a win over Cousins.

    Patrick Ewing 25  DeMarcus Cousins 16

North Division 2nd Round: No. 11 Bill Lambier vs. No. 3 Hakeem Olajuwon

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    Here's a matchup of two players that faced off against each other during their NBA careers. Hakeem Olajuwon and Bill Laimbeer faced off multiple times in the late 80s and early 90s, and more often than not, Olajuwon would get the better of Laimbeer when they faced off.

    The same will be true for their matchup in this tournament, with Olajuwon's versatility and silky-smooth jumper being too much for Laimbeer to handle.

    Not only is Olajuwon the more productive and efficient player of the two, with a career average of 21.2 points per game and a shooting percentage of 51.2 percent, he's also the stronger defensive player, which seriously puts the odds in Olajuwon's favor.

    Laimbeer will put up a fight, as he did for the longevity of his career in the NBA, but he just doesn't have enough skills to take down Hakeem "The Dream."

    Olajuwon's turnaround jumper will be the difference-maker in this game, and it's something that Laimbeer just can't counter. 

    Hakeem Olajuwon 25  Bill Laimbeer 16 

North Division 2nd Round: No. 7 Bill Walton vs. No. 2 Tim Duncan

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    Bill Walton vs. Tim Duncan is a matchup that pits two extremely fundamental players against one another.

    While this won't necessarily be a flashy matchup, it will certainly be one of the most competitive, as both players will battle in the paint with a beautiful balance of physicality and intelligence.

    Walton is the more efficient of the two players, with a career shooting percentage of 52.1 percent, as compared to Duncan's average of 50.6 percent. Unfortunately for Walton, Duncan has something that he does not, and that is the presence of one of the most fundamentally sound turnaround jumpers in the game.

    Duncan also has proven that he's able to be more productive offensively than Walton, with a career average of 20.3 points per game as compared to Walton's average of just 13.3 points.

    Duncan will also use his 45-pound size advantage to control this matchup in the paint late in the game, ultimately proving too much for Walton to handle.

    Tim Duncan 25  Bill Walton 19 

South Division 2nd Round: No. 1 Dwight Howard vs. No. 8 Elvin Hayes

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    After obliterating Manute Bol in his first-round matchup, Dwight Howard enters the second round with a more competitive matchup against an NBA Hall-of-Famer in Elvin Hayes.

    Howard has a legitimate size advantage, weighing in at 6'11'' and 275 pounds as compared to Hayes, who weighs in at just 6'9'' and 235 pounds. Howard will use that size advantage to control the game in the paint, but that doesn't mean that he will run over Hayes.

    With a career average of 21 points and two blocks per game, Hayes has proven that he's capable of producing offensively while also being a legitimate defensive presence. The only problem is that he's never seen a powerhouse like Howard.

    Dwight Howard, with his incredible career shooting percentage of 57.8 percent, will overcome Hayes, but it won't be easy. Howard will struggle early on, as Hayes' athleticism will frustrate him on the defensive side of the ball.

    Ultimately, though, Howard's size and physicality will be too much for Hayes to compete with late in the game.

    Dwight Howard 25  Elvin Hayes 19 

South Division 2nd Round: No. 12 Brad Daugherty vs. No. 4 Moses Malone

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    After knocking off Roy Hibbert in a first-round upset, Brad Daugherty will find himself in another difficult matchup with none other than Moses Malone.

    While Brad Daugherty has a two-inch and 30-pound size advantage, there's no doubt that Malone has the athleticism and versatility in his game to make that size advantage negligible in this matchup.

    The biggest advantage that Malone has over Daugherty in this matchup isn't related to his efficiency scoring the ball; it's rooted in his ability to score outside of the paint and to stretch the court, utilizing parts of the court where Daugherty will have difficult defending him.

    Malone is also the more physical defender of the two players, which will make it more difficult than it may seem for Daugherty so outwork him in the paint.

    Ultimately, Malone survives a second-round upset by overpowering a bigger center, much like he did time and time again in his NBA/ABA career.

    Moses Malone 25  Brad Daugherty 20 

South Division 2nd Round: No. 6 Robert Parish vs. No. 3 Al Jefferson

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    The vastly underrated Al Jefferson will find himself in an extremely difficult second-round matchup against one of the best to ever play the game in Robert Parish.

    The biggest advantage that Jefferson has over Parish, as they both play similar styles of offense, is his size. Jefferson weighs in at 6'10'' and 289 pounds, as compared to Parish, who weighs in at 7'0'' and 230 pounds.

    With both players focusing on their post-up games in the paint, Jefferson's impressive size advantage will be at the foundation of his big-time win over Parish.

    While Parish has the rings and All-Star appearances that Jefferson doesn't have, Jefferson has the production that Parish doesn't, with career averages of 16.2 points per game on 50.1 percent shooting.

    Jefferson will hit a few jumpers outside of the paint during the game to keep Parish on his heels defensively, and that will be a big difference-maker in this huge win for Jefferson.

    Al Jefferson 25  Robert Parish 20 

South Division 2nd Round: No. 7 Serge Ibaka vs. No. 2 Shaquille O'Neal

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    Serge Ibaka got a big-time win in the first round over all-time great Jerry Lucas, but his meeting with Shaquille O'Neal will be a different story.

    There's no doubt that Ibaka has the athleticism and versatility to keep this matchup close, but ultimately, O'Neal's nearly 90-pound and three-inch advantage will be way too much for Ibaka to handle.

    O'Neal's impressive efficiency shooting the ball to the tune of 58.1 percent, which is rooted in his dominance in the paint, will be something that Ibaka won't be able to stop.

    Ibaka will be able to keep O'Neal honest with his athleticism on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball, but athleticism alone won't be enough to take down one of the most dominant and productive centers in NBA history.

    O'Neal will ultimately overpower Ibaka in the paint, hitting mini-hookshots over Ibaka with ease to put him away late in the matchup, earning O'Neal a spot in the Sweet 16.

    Shaquille O'Neal 25  Serge Ibaka 15

East Division 2nd Round: No. 1 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar vs. No. 9 Yao Ming

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    After destroying Emeka Okafur in the first round, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar finds himself in what will turn out to be one of the most competitive matchups of the entire tournament against Yao Ming.

    Yao Ming's size alone will be a difficult matchup for Kareem, as Ming has a four-inch and nearly 90-pound advantage over Kareem.

    Early on, Ming will be able to use his size to post-up Kareem and get out to an early lead by hitting easy shots in the paint with an impressive efficiency. Once Ming misses a shot, though, Kareem will take over, hitting sky-hooks from outside of the paint and hitting mini-hooks in the paint with ease.

    That progression will be how the entire matchup will be, with each player scoring in waves and the outcome of the matchup ultimately coming down to which player can gets defensive stop late in the game, and that player will be Kareem.

    With the game tied past the 25-point limit, Kareem will get the ball from Ming and hit two sky-hooks to put the international superstar away and earn a spot in the Sweet 16.

    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 29  Yao Ming 27 

East Division 2nd Round: No. 5 Willis Reed vs. No. 13 Ralph Sampson

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    After an impressive upset of Tyson Chandler, Ralph Sampson faces off against a much more well-rounded opponent in the Knicks' legendary center, Willis "The Captain" Reed.

    Reed is an extremely complete player, averaging 18.7 points, 12.9 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game, just as Sampson is, with 15.4 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game.

    The main difference between the two players is the versatility and mid-range jumper ability that exists within Reed's game that doesn't exist in Sampson's game.

    Reed will be able to expose Sampson on the perimeter of the court and use his athleticism to force Sampson to stay on his heels defensively, never being certain if Reed is going to hit a jumper or slash to the basket.

    Sampson's upset run will end here with a loss to Reed, as he just doesn't have enough tools to overpower Reed, who's the more complete and productive player of the two.

    Willis Reed 25  Ralph Sampson 18

East Division 2nd Round: No. 11 Alonzo Mourning vs. No. 3 George Mikan

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    Alonzo Mourning faces off against Mr. Basketball himself in his second-round matchup with George Mikan.

    Mourning and Mikan are equally sized, and they both have similar skillets on the offensive side of the ball. With that being said, Mikan is a more productive offensive center with a career average of 23.1 points per game, as compared to Mourning's average of 17.1 points.

    More importantly, Mourning has a much more sizable advantage on the defensive side of the ball, as he's averaged 2.8 blocks per game throughout his career in addition to earning two Defensive Player of the Year awards.

    The real difference-maker in this game will be the tenacity and toughness that Mourning will bring in the paint against Mikan; that will force Mikan to beat Mourning outside of the paint, which is something that he just can't do.

    Mourning will score his second straight big-time upset with a second-round victory over Mr. Basketball, earning himself a spot in the Sweet 16.

    Alonzo Mourning 25  George Mikan 17 

East Division 2nd Round: No. 7 Bob McAdoo vs. No. 2 Marc Gasol

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    Bob McAdoo vs. Marc Gasol is a matchup of two players with different physiques and different styles of game.

    McAdoo is an undersized center, at 6'9'' and 210 pounds, whereas Gasol is more adequately sized at 7'1'' and 265 pounds. Unfortunately for Gasol, his size won't be an advantage in this matchup; it will actually be the main reason why he doesn't make it out of the second round.

    McAdoo averaged 22.1 points per game on 50.3 percent shooting, which is impressive production when you consider the kind of talent that he produced against. Gasol, on the other hand, is averaging 13.1 points on 53.3 percent shooting, but the majority of his production is accounted for in the paint.

    In this matchup, McAdoo will use his athleticism outside of the paint to overwhelm Gasol on the offensive side of the ball. When Gasol gets the ball, however, McAdoo will have a tough time stopping him, which means he will have to make the most of his offensive possessions.

    Ultimately, McAdoo's versatility and Gasol's lack of pure athleticism will be the reason why McAdoo pulls off this big-time upset.

    Bob McAdoo 25  Marc Gasol 23 

West Division 2nd Round: No. 1 Andrew Bynum vs. No. 8 Nate Thurmond

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    Nate Thurmond vs. Andrew Bynum will provide fans with the biggest upset in the tournament, as Thurmond will ultimately be the first player to knock off a No. 1 seed.

    Picking Thurmond over Bynum might seem outlandish at first glance, but the reason why he gets the nod over Bynum is based on his absolute dominance on the defensive side of the ball.

    Bynum is improving as a center, earning his first All-Star appearance this season, but the one thing that is always in question is his work ethic and the intensity that he brings to the court night in and night out, especially on the defensive side of the ball.

    While Bynum is the more efficient player of the two, with a career shooting percentage of 57.1 percent, as compared to Thurmond's average of 42.1 percent, there's no doubt that Thurmond's defense will get him the amount of offensive opportunities he will need to pull off this upset.

    The five-time NBA All-Defensive First/Second Team member will put Bynum on lockdown late in the game, earning the amount of stops he will need to overcome Bynum in an epic upset.

    Nate Thurmond 25  Andrew Bynum 21

West Division 2nd Round: No. 5 Joakim Noah vs. No. 4 David Robinson

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    David Robinson vs. Joakim Noah pits two intense, aggressive and hungry players against each other.

    The only problem for Noah is that in addition to intensity, aggression and hunger, Robinson also has a prolific jump-shot and an impressive athleticism that truly sets him apart from most other centers in the history of the NBA.

    Robinson is hands down the more productive and efficient offensive player, with career averages of 21.1 points per game on 51.8 percent shooting from the field, as compared to Noah's averages of just 8.7 points on 51.2 percent shooting.

    While Noah will be able to slow Robinson's game down, he has no chance of coming out of this matchup victorious, as he just doesn't have the offensive skill he needs to make that happen.

    Robinson will overwhelm Noah while earning a highly-coveted spot in the Sweet Sixteen.

    David Robinson 25  Joakim Noah 14 

West Division 2nd Round: No. 6 Wes Unseld vs. No. 14 Rik Smits

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    After an impressive first-round upset, Rik Smits finds himself in another favorable matchup against the much smaller Wes Unseld.

    Smits weighs in at 7'4'' and 250 pounds as compared to Unseld's measurements of 6' 7'' and 245 pounds. While there are times where a lack of size can be an advantage, that won't be true in this matchup for Unseld, as he doesn't have the versatility in his game to take advantage of Smits large frame.

    Smits, on the other hand, will abuse Unseld in the paint with his nine-inch advantage, as he will hit his hook-shot with ease, overwhelming Unseld on the offensive side of the ball.

    Unseld will keep the game close, as when he gets the ball, he will certainly find ways to score, but he won't be able to get into the paint to get the high-percentage shots that he will need to come out of this matchup with the win.

    "The Flying Dutchman" continues his surprising run in this tournament with his second straight major upset victory.

    Rik Smits 25  Wes Unseld 18 

West Division 2nd Round: No. 7 Al Horford vs. No. 2 Wilt Chamberlain

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    Wilt "The Stilt" Chamberlain finds himself in a more competitive matchup with Al Horford than his first-round matchup with Byron Mullins.

    While Horford will give Chamberlain a more competitive matchup than Mullins did, there's no doubt that Chamberlain will still come out on top, as he's hands down the more prolific scorer and the better defender of the two players.

    Chamberlain's career averages of 30.1 points per game on 57 percent shooting, as compared to Horford's average of 12.8 points and 53.1 percent, show just how dominant of an offensive talent Chamberlain is.

    Horford will certainly be able to hit a few outside jumpers and a few floaters in the paint against Chamberlain, but when Chamberlain gets the ball on offense, he will be very hard to stop.

    Ultimately, Chamberlain will dominate Horford on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball on his way to earning an appearance in the Sweet 16.

    Wilt Chamberlain 25  Al Horford  11

Sweet Sixteen: No. 1 Bill Russell vs. No. 5 Patrick Ewing

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    Not only does Patrick Ewing have a three-inch and 25-pound advantage over Bill Russell, he also has a higher career field-goal percentage to the tune of 50.4 percent as compared to Russell's 44 percent average.

    Ewing has the athleticism and strength that it will take to slow Russell down on the defensive side of the ball while still being able to utilize his size in the paint when he's on the offensive side of the ball.

    Russell will have a difficult time defending against Ewing's fade-away jumper that helped him become one of the most dominant centers in NBA history. Ewing's biggest challenge will be hanging with Russell defensively, as Russell has an athleticism that will wear Ewing out.

    Ewing's biggest advantage will be his ability to back down Russell and hit turnaround jumpers and hook-shots to maximize the high-percentage shots he can get in the paint.

    Ultimately, Ewing will do the impossible and knock off the overall No. 1 seed in Bill Russell, and he'll do so with his signature fadeaway jumper and his tenacity on the defensive side of the ball.

    Patrick Ewing 25  Bill Russell 22

Sweet 16: No. 2 Tim Duncan vs. No. 3 Hakeem Olajuwon

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    Tim Duncan vs. Hakeem Olajuwon is a match made in basketball heaven, as it pits two extremely fundamental and evenly-skilled players against each other.

    Olajuwon and Duncan are equally-sized, both weighing in at around seven feet and 255 pounds, and they both play the game in a very similar way, consistently utilizing their size in and out of the paint.

    Both players are also equally productive on the offensive side of the ball, as Duncan has career averages of 20.3 points per game on 50.7 percent shooting and Olajuwon has averages of 21.8 points on 51.8 percent shooting.

    The real difference maker in this matchup will be the play of both players on the defensive side of the ball, and that slight advantage goes to Duncan, who's amassed eight NBA All-Defensive First Team honors. as compared to Olajuwon, who only earned that honor five times in his career.

    This matchup will go back and forth, well past the 25-point limit, with both players hitting turnaround jumpers out of the paint in addition to hook-shots in the paint. Duncan will get the final defensive stop, followed by two turnaround jumpers to knock Olajuwon out of the tournament.

    Tim Duncan 31  Hakeem Olajuwon 29 

Sweet 16: No. 1 Dwight Howard vs. No. 4 Moses Malone

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    Dwight Howard is one of the most athletic and dominant big men in the history of the NBA, which is why Moses Malone will have his hands full in this Sweet 16 matchup.

    Malone isn't a pushover, as he weighs in at 6'10" and 215 pounds, but his size will be a major disadvantage for him, as Howard, even though he's much bigger at 6'11'' and 265 pounds, has even more athleticism than he does.

    While Malone has a more prolific "outside" game than Howard, he doesn't have the defensive skill set he will need to overcome Howard on the defensive side of the ball.

    With Howard shooting the ball at an impressive 57.8 percent, Malone won't be able to keep the ball out of Howard's hands long enough to get the win here.

    Howard continues his dominance in this tournament with an impressive win over Malone, earning himself a comfortable spot in the Elite Eight.

    Dwight Howard 25  Moses Malone 17 

Sweet 16: No. 3 Al Jefferson vs. No. 2 Shaquille O'Neal

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    Al Jefferson's impressive run in this classic tournament will sadly come to an end once he faces off against the much bigger and more dominant Shaquille O'Neal.

    Jefferson and O'Neal faced off against each other a few times over the past years when O'Neal was in his final years with the Heat, Celtics, Suns and Cavaliers, but that doesn't matter, as this matchup pits them against each other in their prime.

    O'Neal's impressive offensive production of 23.7 points per game on 58.2 percent shooting will be the foundation of his win over Jefferson, as Jefferson will have his hands full as he tries to stop "The Big Diesel."

    Jefferson won't be a pushover, though, as he has a nice outside jumper that he will use to keep himself in the game early and keep O'Neal on his heels defensively late.

    Ultimately, O'Neal's size and efficiency will just be too much for Jefferson to handle. In a close matchup, O'Neal will win with dominance in the paint and physicality on defense.

    Shaquille O'Neal 25  Al Jefferson 19

Sweet 16: No. 1 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar vs. No. 5 Willis Reed

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    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar finds himself in a Sweet 16 matchup with a player that he met more than a few times in his NBA career with the Lakers and the Bucks in Willis Reed.

    While Reed had an impressive run in this tournament so far, his winning streak will come to an end once he steps on the court against Kareem, as he just doesn't have the efficiency in his game to hang with Kareem.

    Throughout his career, Kareem shot the ball at a ridiculously impressive 55.9 percent, which is in large part because of his nearly unstoppable sky-hook that gave him a major advantage over opponents. That same shot will be the difference maker in his matchup with Reed, as there won't be any way for Reed to stop him.

    Reed, on the other hand, only shoots the ball at 47.9 percent, which isn't the kind of efficiency it will take to take out one of the greatest centers of all-time in Kareem.

    Kareem will also control Reed in the paint on the defensive side of the ball, much like he did when the two players met back in the 70s.

    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 25  Willis Reed 16

Sweet 16: No. 11 Alonzo Mourning vs. No. 7 Bob McAdoo

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    Unlike other players that Bob McAdoo saw in his first two matchups in this tournament, Alonzo Mourning has the athleticism and quickness to stick with him on the defensive side of the ball, which will make this matchup that much more competitive.

    Mourning is arguably one of the best defensive centers in the history of the NBA, and his ability to stop McAdoo from getting into the paint while also contesting his mid-range jumper will be the real difference-maker in the game.

    The offensive advantage will also go to Mourning, as he will be able to use his 30-pound advantage, mixed with his strength and athleticism, to get into the paint against the smaller McAdoo. 

    With Mourning shooting around 52.7 percent from the field, McAdoo will have his hands full defensively, and the fact that his post-defense isn't as dominant as it needs to be to stop Mourning will ultimately be McAdoo's downfall.

    Mourning keeps his Cinderella story alive with a big win over McAdoo, earning himself a trip to the Elite Eight.

    Alonzo Mourning 25  Bob McAdoo 19

Sweet 16: No. 8 Nate Thurmond vs. No. 4 David Robinson

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    Nate Thurmond's impressive run in this tournament leads him to a showdown with David "The Admiral" Robinson, and it will be a tough-nosed and hard-fought matchup to say the least. 

    Thurmond will stay in the game early, with his tenacity on the defensive side of the ball, but ultimately, his inefficiency on offensive, with a career shooting percentage of just 42.1 percent, will be his downfall.

    Robinson's "Defensive Player of the Year" defense will be too much for Thurmond to overcome with his offensive skill set, and Robinson will convert blocked shots and turnovers into easy scoring opportunities for himself in the paint.

    With a career shooting percentage of 51.8 percent, Robinson will have no problem hitting jumpers and floaters in the paint to help him get this Sweet 16 victory over Thurmond.

    Robinson will continue his dominance in this tournament based on his basketball intelligence and his tenacity on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.

    David Robinson 25  Nate Thurmond 16

Sweet Sixteen: No. 14 Rik Smits vs. No. 2 Wilt Chamberlain

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    "The Dunking Dutchman" against Wilt "The Stilt" Chamberlain will be the most lopsided matchup of the Sweet Sixteen, mainly because Smits just doesn't have the strength it will take to keep up with Chamberlain in the paint.

    While Smits has a three inch advantage over Chamberlain, that won't mean anything, as Chamberlain's athleticism and strength all but makes up for that advantage.

    Smits 50.7 percent shooting percentage was enough to get him past his first two matchups, but it won't be enough when compared to Chamberlain's efficiency of 54 percent, especially when you consider just how easily Chamberlain will body up Smits in the paint.

    Smits will be able to hit a few shots early on and stay in the game; that is, until Chamberlain decides to take over the game.

    Smits' Cinderella run in the tournament will come to an abrupt end at the hands of one of the greatest of all-time in Chamberlain. 

    Wilt Chamberlain 25  Rik Smits 14

Elite Eight: No. 5 Patrick Ewing vs. No. 2 Tim Duncan

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    Tim Duncan and Patrick Ewing met up a few times in the late 90s, but that was when Duncan was just entering the league and Ewing was on his way out.

    When it comes to comparing these two players, the immediate attention is drawn to the far that Duncan is a little bit more athletic of the two players, but in all reality, Ewing and Duncan are extremely similar players.

    Duncan averages 20.3 points per game on 50.3 percent shooting, while Ewing averaged 21 points on 50.4 percent. The main difference between the two players, offensively speaking, is Duncan's range, which is ultimately going to give him the slight advantage over Ewing in this matchup.

    The other advantage that Duncan has over Ewing his defensive abilities, which have helped him earn eight NBA All-Defensive First Team honors in his career. Duncan, who's one inch shorter than Ewing, has the advantage on the defensive side of the ball because of his basketball I.Q, and that gives him the advantage.

    Duncan and Ewing will go back and forth throughout, with Duncan ultimately pulling away from Ewing late in the matchup as he takes his talents outside of the paint and hits a few jumpers to seal the deal.

    Tim Duncan 25  Patrick Ewing 21

Elite Eight: No. 1 Dwight Howard vs. No. 2 Shaquille O'Neal

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    Here's an absolutely epic matchup that will help us find out who the real Superman really is.

    Dwight Howard and Shaquille O'Neal are both dominant centers in their own respects, but in all honesty, they play somewhat different styles of the game.

    O'Neal is a brute force that knows how to use his size to back down defenders and score in the paint with ease. Howard is a similar player, but he relies more on athleticism and strength to get the job done in the paint, and the extra step that he has on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball will be the difference maker in this matchup.

    The verticality that exists in Howard's game will give him an advantage on the defensive side of the ball too, as he will be able to get off the ground and elevate to block/contest shots that O'Neal puts up.

    While both players shoot around 58 percent from the field, Howard has that extra touch in his offensive game, that will allow him to have the edge over O'Neal. This matchup will be highly contested, but ultimately, Howard will come out on top in a historic win that proves that D12 is the real Superman. 

    Dwight Howard 27  Shaquille O'Neal 25 

Elite Eight: No. 1 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar vs. No. 11 Alonzo Mourning

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    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has dominated the majority of competition, aside from Yao Ming, that he's gone up against in this tournament, but that will change when he goes up against Alonzo Mourning in the Elite Eight.

    The defensive pressure that Mourning is known for will be a difficult challenge for Kareem, but ultimately, his sky-hook, the unblockable shot, will help him escape from this potential big-time upset.

    Kareem's ability to shoot 55.9 percent from the field gives him the offensive advantage over Mourning, but that alone won't help him win. Kareem will have to amp up his defensive pressure and force Mourning into low-percentage shots.

    The key for Kareem is to force Mourning into as many low-percentage shots as he can because that means more offensive possessions for himself, which will result in reaching the 25-point total before Mourning.

    Sadly, Mourning's Cinderella run will end in this matchup with Kareem, as Mourning just doesn't have the offensive prowess he will need to overcome Kareem.

    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 25  Alonzo Mourning 18

Elite Eight: No. 4 David Robinson vs. No. 2 Wilt Chamberlain

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    Wilt Chamberlain vs. David Robinson is the kind of one-on-one matchup that most NBA fans would die to see.

    This matchup pits two of the all-time greats against one another in a game that will be the most tough-nosed and physical matchup of the tournament.

    On one side, you have David Robinson, known for his work ethic, offensive prowess and defensive pressure, and on the other side, you have Wilt Chamberlain, who's known for his ridiculous ability to score and his efficiency on defense.

    This matchup will come down to the player with the size and athletic advantage, and that player is Wilt "The Stilt," as he has 40 pounds on Robinson while being just as athletic. Chamberlain also has a slight advantage here because of his ability to score from around the paint.

    In all reality, this matchup could go either way 10 times out of 10, but this time, it's going to Chamberlain, as he's the slightly more prolific player, at least on the offensive side of the ball.

    Wilt Chamberlain 28  David Robinson 26

Final Four: No. 2 Tim Duncan vs. No. 1 Dwight Howard

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    Tim Duncan and Dwight Howard have battled it out numerous times in their career, and meeting up in this tournament will be just another showcase for both of the all-time great players.

    The one big advantage that Duncan has over Howard is the fact that he has much more range than Howard does when it comes to offense outside of the paint, and that will be at the fountain of his success in this matchup.

    While Howard has the athleticism to keep up with Duncan outside of the paint, the fact that Duncan can hit fadeaway/turnaround jumpers with ease from nearly anywhere inside the three-point line will make Howard's defensive job that much more difficult.

    Howard has a little bit of a size advantage over Duncan, but not enough to give him a significant advantage in the paint, as Duncan's defense will be more than adequate against Howard.

    Duncan vs. Howard will be an instant classic, with the game going back and forth until the final few possessions, but the fact that Howard doesn't have offensive talent outside of the paint will be the reason his tournament run ends.

    Tim Duncan 26  Dwight Howard 24 

Final Four: No. 1 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar vs. No. 2 Wilt Chamberlain

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    Here's another matchup that will come down to the wire, as both Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Wilt Chamberlain are two of the best centers in the history of the NBA.

    Kareem and Chamberlain faced off a few times in the early 70s, when Kareem was with the Bucks, and in those matchups, Kareem had the offensive advantage, with an average of 26.1 points per game against Chamberlain as compared to Chamberlain's average of 22.8 points against Kareem.

    The main difference between Kareem and Chamberlain's game, offensively speaking, is the extra polish and fines that Kareem has on his mini-hook and sky-hook. His ability to hit that shot at a rate of almost 58 percent will be the difference-maker in this matchup.

    Chamberlain has the size and strength to make it difficult for Kareem to score, but ultimately, Kareem is the more versatile player of the two, and he will find ways to get the ball in the net as long as he's able to get the offensive opportunities.

    Kareem moves on to the tournament finals with a big-time win over Chamberlain, proving that he might just be the greatest center of all-time.

    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 25  Wilt Chamberlain 22

Tournament Finals: No. 2 Tim Duncan vs. No. 1 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

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    Here it is, the tournament finals, and it pits two fundamentally sound and prolific centers against each other.

    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Tim Duncan is an epic matchup that fans would undoubtedly love to see, as both players know how to score from inside and outside of the paint, and they both play with a high level of basketball I.Q.

    The real difference in this matchup is going to be the verticality that Kareem has in his game, combined with the three-inch height advantage that he has over Duncan.

    While Duncan will be able to hit his patented turnaround bank-shot, Kareem will also be able to hit his sky-hook, and he will be able to do so with more efficiency and frequency than Duncan will be able to hit his turnaround jumper.

    Duncan will keep the game competitive throughout, but he will never have enough to take the lead away from Kareem, who will control the pace and tempo of the game.

    Kareem's career shooting percentage of 55.9 percent, as compared to Duncan's average of 50.6 percent, will give Kareem the advantage that he needs to take down Duncan and earn himself this one-on-one tournament title.

    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 25  Tim Duncan 22

Tournament Champion: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

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    So there you have it.

    The champion of the 64-player one-one-one tournament between NBA centers is none other than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar of the Los Angeles Lakers.

    Check out the original 64-player NBA Legends vs. NBA All-Stars one-on-one tournament that included players from all positions right here.

    Stay tuned here at Bleacher Report for more one-on-one tournaments throughout the coming weeks, and don't forget to follow me on Twitter @peteremerick.