NCAA Tournament 2010: What the Field Would Look Like if Nobody Went Pro
Following the 2010-2011 NBA season, the collective bargaining agreement is set to run out. If that happens, the NBA could be headed towards a lockout. That possibility might keep a few kids in school one year longer, loading up college basketball with an extra handful of dynamic players.
But what would happen if the NBA forced every player to finish out his four years of college? Entering the 2009-2010 season, players like Kevin Durant, Michael Beasley, Greg Oden, Mike Conley, Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans, Jonny Flynn, and many more would still be in school.
This slideshow will be a walk down memory lane with the greatest players of the past four years that would still be active today and the teams they play for.
The top 24 teams (top six seed lines) will be ranked, but knowledge of this season and injuries will be taken into account. Taking in account what happened this year with the way the some teams improved will really only affect several teams.
No. 25 Wisconsin
What Wisconsin lost: Absolutely nothing. No players left early that would be eligible in 2009-2010.
What Wisconsin has: Sophomore PG Jordan Taylor, senior G Trevon Hughes, senior G Jason Bohannon, junior F Keaton Nankivil, and junior F Jon Leuer. Off the bench would be Timothy Jarmusz, Ryan Evans, Rob Wilson, and Mike Bruesewitz.
Bo Ryan would still have this Wisconsin team a contender in the Big Ten despite the influx of professional talent in this scenario. The Big Ten hasn't lost many players in recent years so the Badgers could still compete. The problem is the Big Ten would be much weaker and Ohio State would barely be able to hold a spot in the top 25.
No. 24 Gonzaga
What Gonzaga lost: Austin Daye after 2009.
What Gonzaga would have: Sophomore PG Demetri Goodson, senior SG Matt Bouldin, junior SF Steven Gray, junior F Austin Day, and sophomore center Robert Sacre. Off the bench would be Elias Harris, Kelly Olynyk, and Bol Kong.
This is the first case of evaluating a team with the knowledge of what's happened this season instead of just looking at the team on paper. Entering the season, if Mark Few has Austin Daye, there isn't a good chance Elias Harris would start.
But knowing how good Harris has been, he would probably eat up many of Austin Daye's minutes as Daye was a terrible defender and volume shooter. Gonzaga's fifth ranked 2009 offense was so brilliant because of the seniors, NOT because of Daye.
Daye hasn't been much of an NBA player yet, but even with his volume shooting and general lack of defense, he would still add something to this year's Gonzaga team. At times, the Zags lack offensive punch and he could certainly provide that when hot.
No. 23 Wake Forest
What Wake Forest lost: James Johnson and Jeff Teague after 2009.
What Wake Forest would have: Junior PG Jeff Teague, senior G Ish Smith, junior SF James Johnson, sophomore PF Al-Farouq Aminu, and senior center Chas McFarland. Off the bench would be Ari Stewart, LD Williams, CJ Harris, Tony Woods, and David Weaver.
With two NBA Draft picks returning how could Wake Forest still only be 23rd? The Demon Deacons' 2009 late season swoon is the culprit behind their low 2010 ranking. After a strong 16-0 start, Wake lost five of nine games and then later lost in the first round of the ACC and NCAA Tournament to inferior teams.
The offense fell apart during the stretch and likely would only improve marginally in 2010. Jeff Teague and James Johnson were solid college players, but using their current NBA performances, it is apparent the two haven't improved too much from last season and may not have become All-American level superstars this season.
Al-Farouq Aminu's overall production is up, but tempo-free statistics suggest his overall improvement as a player has been minimal. This year, Aminu has looked more capable of taking over games more easily, but in general Aminu has enough off nights to show he's not a superstar yet either.
Almost Wake Forest's entire roster would be back this season, meaning Wake's 25th place Pomeroy ranking would likely jump to 10 or 15, but there's close to a dozen teams that jump Wake because they gain more "professional" talent than the Demon Deacons.
No. 22 Xavier
What Xavier lost: Derrick Brown after 2009
What Xavier would have: Sophomore PG Terrell Holloway, sophomore SG Jordan Crawford, junior SF Dante Jackson, senior F Derrick Brown, junior F Jason Love. Off the bench would be Jamel McLean, Mark Lyons, Kenny Frease, Brad Redford, and Andrew Taylor
The difference between the 2009 and 2010 Xavier Musketeers is pretty simple. Last year's team was defensive minded, this one is quite offensive minded. The offensive efficiency improved .05 points per possession after Brown left, but his addition as a forward with an 118.9 offensive rating would likely keep Xavier's offensive efficiency in the top 15 even with the many pro-additions across the country.
Brown's effect on the defense would be more profound. Last year's Xavier squad ranked seventh in defending the two-pointer. This year, the Musketeers are 106th. That's the main factor that would catapult Xavier back into the top 25 in offensive efficiency. Typically, if a team is in the top 25 for both offensive and defensive efficiency, it will likely find its way into the top 25.
No. 21 Michigan State
What Michigan State lost: Absolutely Nothing. After consistently losing players early during the first half of this decade, Tom Izzo has recruited many four-year players.
What Michigan State would have: Junior PG Kalin Lucas, junior G Chris Allen, junior G Durrell Summers, senior F Raymar Morgan, and sophomore F Draymond Green. Off the bench would be Korie Lucious, Delvon Roe, Derrick Nix, Garrick Sherman, and Austin Thornton.
The Spartans haven't lost any players to the professional ranks so this team would still perform at its current level. Only one Big Ten team dramatically improves due to professional prospects, so MSU would likely be in contention to finish second in league, but would barely in a top 20 team in on the national scale.
No. 20 West Virginia
What West Virginia lost: Nobody. Only Joe Alexander has left early recently, but his eligibility would have run out last season.
What West Virginia would have: Sophomore PG Darryl Bryant, senior F Da'Sean Butler, sophomore F Devin Ebanks, sophomore F Kevin Jones, senior F Wellington Smith. Off the bench would be Joe Mazzulla, John Flowers, Dalton Pepper, and Casey Mitchell.
West Virginia adds nobody to this current top 10 roster. With the additions around them across the country, WVU would undoubtedly drop. But when compared to the teams directly behind them, the Mountaineers would likely still be favored against a more loaded Xavier or Wake Forest squad.
No. 19 Texas A&M
What Texas A&M lost: Chinemelu Elonu after the 2009 season and DeAndre Jordan after the 2008 season.
What Texas A&M would have: Junior PG BJ Holmes, senior G Donald Sloan, sophomore G Dash Harris, senior F Chinemelu Elonu and junior C DeAndre Jordan. Off the bench would be Bryan Davis, Nathan Walkup, David Loubeau, Ray Turner, Khris Middleton, and Naji Hibbert.
Texas A&M would add to the recurring theme in the Big 12 of incredibly deep teams. The Aggies could go 11 deep with Bryan Davis becoming one heck of a sixth man. He'd be relegated to the bench because Chinemelu Elonu and DeAndre Jordan would create one of the best front-court duos in the country.
A&M's decent rebounding would improve to be elite as both players that left were excellent rebounders. The Aggies also don't defend the two extremely well this year, but that would improve as well.
No. 18 Florida
What Florida lost: Nick Calathes after the 2009 season and Marreese Speights after the 2008 season.
What Florida would have: Senior PG Nick Calathes, freshman G Kenny Boynton, junior F Chandler Parsons, senior PF Marreese Speights, and junior C Alex Tyus. Off the bench would be Erving Walker, Vernon Macklin, Dan Werner, Ray Shipman, and Erik Murphy.
With Nick Calathes' emergence as one of the best all-around players last season and Marreese Speights' likely continued development over the past two season, Florida would have two potential All-American candidates. Calathes would dramatically improve a three-point percentage that ranks 300th in the country while Speights would improve Florida against the two (ranked just 147th).
Overall, Florida would improve dramatically on both ends of the floor. Kenny Boynton would have more room to drive the lane and role players like Chandler Parsons and Alex Tyus would actually be able to settle into secondary roles instead of having to do too much like they do now.
No. 17 Oklahoma
What Oklahoma lost: Blake Griffin after the 2009 season.
What Oklahoma would have: Freshman PG Tommy Mason-Griffin, senior G Tony Crocker, junior G Cade Davis, freshman PF Keith Gallon, and junior C Blake Griffin. Off the bench would be Andrew Fitzgerald, Steven Pledger, and Ryan Wright.
At this point in the season, Willie Warren's injury that has plagued him all season keeps Oklahoma out of the top 10. It's debatable even with Warren and superstar Blake Griffin could even put the Sooners into the top 10 knowing that losing Taylor Griffin and Austin Johnson were major reasons why Oklahoma's defense was very good last year.
This season with an injured Warren, no Griffin brothers, or Johnson, the defense has been absolutely horrendous. Adding Blake back into the equation would only improve it so much while the offense would become elite.
Blake Griffin alone would make everyone around him better and turn the Sooners into a top five offensive team. Oklahoma's overall statistical profile this season would like resemble Villanova of this year: great offense and little defense.
No. 16 Villanova
What Villanova lost: Absolutely nothing.
What Villanova would have: Junior G Corey Fisher, senior G Scottie Reynolds, junior G Corey Stokes, senior G Reggie Reading, and junior F Antonio Pena. Off the bench would be Taylor King, Maalik Wayns, Dominic Cheek, Isaiah Armwood, Maurice Sutton, and Mouphtaou Yarou.
Like Oklahoma, the team right before Villanova, the Wildcats are all offense and little defense. This team which is generally consider a top five to 10 team this year, would drop a solid five to 10 spots because these Wildcats don't add any professionals lost to the NBA draft.
No. 15 New Mexico
What New Mexico lost: Absolutely Nothing
What New Mexico would have: Junior PG Dairese Gary, sophomore G Phillip McDonald, senior G Roman Martinez, junior F Darington Hobson, and sophomore F A.J. Hardeman. Off the bench would be Curtis Dennis, Nate Garth, Jamal Fenton, Chad Adams, and Will Brown.
The Lobos have emerged has the favorite in the Mountain West Conference despite poor efficiency numbers. That's part luck and part knowing how to win close games. That combo keeps New Mexico among the nation's top 15 teams despite every team in front of the Lobos adding at least one pro player.
What Memphis lost: After the 2009 season, Tyreke Evans and Shawn Taggart.
What Memphis would have: Sophomore PG Tyreke Evans, junior G Roburt Sallie, sophomore G Elliot Williams, sophomore F Wesley Witherspoon, and senior F Shawn Taggart. Off the bench would be Willie Kemp, Doneal Mack, and Will Coleman.
This improved Memphis team would not have Derrick Rose since we know that Rose would be ineligible to continue playing for the Tigers. This dropped Memphis out of the top five and down to around 15th. Still, adding Tyreke Evans and Shawn Taggart to this decent Memphis team would turn the Tigers around and back at the top of Conference USA.
The record long winning streak would probably extend past 70 games as this Tigers squad would be nearly unbeatable in the league even though UTEP would be bolstered by the return of Kareem Cooper who went pro last year.
Memphis is an excellent offensive team this year, but lacks solid shut-down defenders. Tyreke Evans and Shawn Taggart would add the toughness this team desperately needs. Taggart would especially help improve the 302nd ranked defensive rebounding mark while both players would improve the team's defensive field goal percentage against the two and the three-ball.
Overall, Memphis would cut down on the number of extra possessions allowed and get back to forcing lots of bad shots.
No. 13 Arizona
What Arizona lost: Jerryd Bayless after the 2008 season, and Chase Budinger and Jordan Hill after the 2009 season.
What Arizona would have: Junior PG Jerryd Bayless, senior G Nic Wise, freshman F Derrick Williams, senior F Chase Budinger, and senior C Jordan Hill. Off the bench would be Kyle Fogg, Jamelle Horne, Lamont Jones and Soloman Hill.
The Wildcats are the first team to bring back a trio of dominant players. This year's mediocre squad that features just one star, Nic Wise, would suddenly have four NBA caliber players capable of dominating the Pac-10 with California.
The one thing that could hold this NBA dominated lineup back is defense. Last year, the team ranked just 142nd in defensive efficiency. Adding Jerryd Bayless likely would improve that rank too drastically. Luckily for Arizona, that starting lineup combo could produce an offensive efficiency rarely seen in college basketball.
No. 12 California
What California lost: Ryan Anderson after the 2008 season.
What California would have: Senior PG Jerome Randle, sophomore G Jorge Guitierrez, senior G/F Patrick Christopher, senior G/F Theo Robertson, and senior C Ryan Anderson. Off the bench would be Jamal Boykin, Omondi Amoke, and Markhuri Sanders-Frison.
Suddenly, the Pac-10 looks formidable. With California and Arizona already on the list, Washington just missing, and UCLA to come, it is clear how much talent the league actually lost.
As for Cal, adding Ryan Anderson would give the Golden Bears the inside presence needed against many of the top teams Cal lost to throughout the season. As a sophomore, Anderson had an offensive rating of 121 and finished 28 percent of his teams possessions.
Anderson was clearly a great college player that by the time he would have been a senior, could have been one of the best players in the game. Add his front-court presence to California's incredible backcourt and it's clear this team would be an Elite Eight or Sweet 16 worthy squad.
No. 11 Pittsburgh
What Pittsburgh lost: DeJuan Blair after the 2009 season.
What Pittsburgh would have: Sophomore G Ashton Gibbs, senior G Jermaine Dixon, junior G Brad Wanamaker, junior F DeJuan Blair, and junior C Gary McGhee. Off the bench would be Gilbert Brown, Nasir Robinson, and Travon Woodall.
DeJuan Blair's effect on a college basketball game is truly amazing. His offensive rebounding alone is good for at least six points per game according to Basketball Prospectus. Add in another year of development and Blair would be nearly unstoppable.
Adding a player you could mark down for 20 points and 15 rebounds each game would push Pittsburgh close to the top 10. Losing Sam Young and Levance Fields can't be replaced with the roster Jamie Dixon returns which is why Pittsburgh doesn't rank higher.
No. 10 Duke
What Duke lost: Gerald Henderson after the 2009 season.
What Duke would have: Senior PG Jon Scheyer, senior SG Gerald Henderson, junior F Kyle Singler, senior F Lance Thomas, and senior C Brian Zoubek. Off the bench would be Nolan Smith, Miles Plumlee, Andre Dawkins and Mason Plumlee.
The Blue Devils' biggest weakness this year is still post play, and Gerald Henderson returning wouldn't improve that much. Henderson's return would bolster Duke in nearly every facet of the game. He'd improve Duke's transition game, further increasing the Blue Devils' nation best offensive efficiency.
While some teams would likely jump Duke because of more returning professional players, the Blue Devils would like experience an increase to 1.25 points per possession with Henderson in the lineup.
In several of Duke's losses, the Blue Devils needed a better go-to guy who could create his own shot. Henderson would have been that guy. It's hard to imagine Duke losing the close games against Wisconsin and Georgia Tech if Henderson was the one taking over the game for the Blue Devils.
No. 9 UCLA
What UCLA lost: Jrue Holiday after the 2009 season, and Russell Westbrook and Kevin Love after the 2008 season.
What UCLA would have: Sophomore PG Jrue Holiday, senior G Russell Westbrook, sophomore F Malcolm Lee, senior Nikola Dragovic, and junior C Kevin Love. Off the bench would be Reeves Nelson, Tyler Honeycutt, Michael Roll, and Jerime Anderson.
UCLA would likely rank higher on this list if the Bruins had a better supporting cast. Jrue Holiday, Russell Westbrook, and Kevin Love make as good a trio as any of these teams are going to have, but the Bruins simply don't have the role players necessary to truly be elite under this format.
Westbrook and Love would probably average 40-45 points between the two while Holiday would be a lock down defender in his second season.
No. 8 Georgia Tech
What Georgia Tech lost: Javaris Crittenton and Thaddeus Young after the 2007 season.
What Georgia Tech would have: Senior G Javaris Crittenton, sophomore G Iman Shumpert, senior SF Thaddeus Young, junior PF Gani Lawal, and freshman C Derrick Favors. Off the bench would be D'Andre Bell, Mfon Udofia, Zachery Peacock, and Brian Oliver.
Between No. 9 UCLA and No. 10 Duke, there is a pretty sizable jump in talent. The same goes for No. 9 UCLA and No. 8 Georgia Tech as the top nine teams are teeming with professional players.
As freshmen, Javaris Crittenton and Thaddeus Young were electric players. In the NBA, Young has developed more than Crittenton, but it's clear the two would have gone on to become one of the best open-court duos in the country.
Put those two players alongside the remaining freakishly athletic trio of starters and Georgia Tech would be built to play street-ball. Recent Paul Hewitt clubs have been dynamite on the defensive end of the floor, but struggled with that playground style on the offensive end.
With a pair of players like Young and Crittenton leading the offense as seniors, the offensive woes would dissipate. Georgia Tech would have shut down defenders and a handful of players that could score in a variety of different ways.
No. 7 Kentucky
What Kentucky lost: Jodie Meeks after the 2009 season.
What Kentucky would have: Freshman PG John Wall, freshman G Eric Bledsoe, senior G Jodie Meeks, senior PF Patrick Patterson, and freshman C DeMarcus Cousins. Off the bench would be Darius Miller, Daniel Orton, Darnell Dodson.
Kentucky's offense and defense are already pretty good as the second best squad in the nation. Add in Jodie Meeks, and the Wildcats would be unguardable. Teams stack the paint and sag zones against Kentucky to prevent penetration and add extra bodies around the rim to try to slow DeMarcus Cousins.
With Meeks, John Calipari would have one of the best shooters in the college game to create more space than John Wall knows how to work with. (That's a lie, Wall would know EXACTLY what to do with all that space).
Even though Kentucky would only be bringing back one professional player, the Wildcats have three, potentially four NBA ready players on its roster as it is. The entire starting lineup would be in the NBA next season and this year, they'd be dominating the college game.
Unfortunately for Kentucky in this scenario, every team gets its professional players back and the Wildcats would only be the eighth best squad in America.
No. 6 Kansas
What Kansas lost: Darrell Arthur after the 2008 season.
What Kansas would have: Senior PG Sherron Collins, sophomore SG Tyshawn Taylor, freshman SF Xaiver Henry, senior PF Darrell Arthur, and junior C Cole Aldrich. Off the bench would be Marcus Morris, Markieff Morris, Brady Morningstar, and Tyrel Reed.
Darrell Arthur was the dominant post man for Kansas on the National Title winning team and would continue to dominant the post even with Cole Aldrich at his side. Aldrich could focus on being an even bigger defensive stopper, but also become a better offensive rebounder.
Arthur's addition also allows both Morris twins to come off the bench to give Kansas an added dimension of strong post players, but also mid-range jump-shooters. Arthur would help sure up the Jayhawks' one weakness which is defensive rebounding.
There's few things on this team that could be improved, but adding Darrell Arthur would improve those specific weaknesses.
No. 5 Kansas State
What Kansas State lost: Michael Beasley and Bill Walker after the 2008 season.
What Kansas State would have: Junior G Jacob Pullen, senior G Denis Clemente, junior F Bill Walker, junior PF Curtis Kelly, and junior C Michael Beasley. Off the bench would be Dominique Sutton, Jamar Samuels, and several role players.
Michael Beasley would be one year behind Kevin Durant in his development and thus sits behind Texas in the rankings. Both teams return similar talent and bring back a pro player of similar impact, but Durant's professional career has showed he's taken many more steps forward than Beasley.
With that said, Kansas State is leaps and bounds ahead of Kansas who is just one spot behind them in the rankings. Adding Beasley to an already dynamic lineup that includes Jacob Pullen and Denis Clemente, not to mention Bill Walker who went pro and you can see how Kansas State could score on practically every possession.
The defense would improve as well as Beasley would be a low post shot-blocker and rebounder to compliment Curtis Kelly who has done an outstanding job as an undersized big man.
Beasley and Walker also drew an incredible amount of fouls. Considering K-State already ranks first in getting to the charity stripe, it would be a safe bet to say Kansas State could force even the deepest teams into crippling foul-trouble.
With how stacked Kansas State is, it is hard to imagine that there would be four teams better, but there are.
No. 4 Syracuse
What Syracuse lost: Following the 2008 season, Donte Greene and after the 2009 season, Jonny Flynn, Eric Devendorf, and Paul Harris.
What Syracuse would have: Junior PG Jonny Flynn, senior SG Andy Rautins, junior SF Wes Johnson, junior PF Donte Greene, and senior C Arinze Onuaku. Off the bench would be Kris Joseph, Rick Jackson, Eric Devendorf, Paul Harris, Scoop Jardine, and Brandon Triche.
On the opening slide, it was mentioned what happened in the regular season would be taken into account. Syracuse was the main team referred to with that statement.
The Orange could basically be split up into two teams: the group of guys to go pro and this year's team.
Think of two lineups: Jonny Flynn, Eric Devendorf, Paul Harris, Donte Greene and for the sake of having a center, give them Arinze Onuaku. Now consider this year's minus Onuaku: Brandon Triche (backed up by Scoop Jardine), Andy Rautins, Wes Johnson, Kris Joseph, and Rick Jackson.
Knowing how good this year's team is, would you take the pros over the college kids? It's hard to pass over four pro players, but with the way this year's team has gelled it's almost impossible not to take this year's starting five, take out Brandon Triche and add Jonny Flynn.
Flynn would eliminate the sometimes stagnant half-court offense without giving up too much on the defensive end. Without knowing what Jim Boeheim knows this year, he'd like start Donte Greene, but if he had the knowledge of how good this year's team was actually going to be, Greene, Devendorf, and Harris would all come off the bench.
Talk about one heck of a bench!
No. 3 North Carolina
What North Carolina lost: Brandon Wright following the 2007 season and Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington following the 2009 season.
What North Carolina would have: Senior PG Ty Lawson, senior SG Wayne Ellington, junior SF Marcus Ginyard, senior PF Deon Thompson, and senior C Brandon Wright. Off the bench would be Larry Drew, Tyler Zeller, and Will Graves.
UNC would have one incredible senior laden lineup. The bench would be nothing special, but it would be awfully difficult to top that starting five. Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington would be the most dynamic backcourt in college basketball.
Brandon Wright had an incredibly efficient freshman year before bailing for the NBA. While he hasn't developed much in the NBA, he would still be outstanding college player. Put Deon Thompson alongside him who excelled next to Tyler Hansbrough and UNC would also have a formidable front-court as well.
Marcus Ginyard would be the final member of the starting lineup to give the Tar Heels the defensive presence needed in case UNC can't outscore the opponent, which would definitely be rare.
If last year's team won the national title, this one would be more than capable of doing the same if it wasn't for the fact that the two teams ranked ahead of Carolina bring back a set of professional players that would completely own college basketball.
No. 2 Texas
What Texas lost: Kevin Durant after the 2007 season and DJ Augustin after the 2008 season.
What Texas would have: Senior PG DJ Augustin, freshman SG Avery Bradley, senior SF Damion James, senior PF Kevin Durant, and senior C Dexter Pittman. Off the bench would be Gary Johnson, Jordan Hamilton, Justin Mason.
Considering Kevin Durant averages almost 30 points per game in the NBA in his third season, it is safe to say he'd be doing the same in the college game. Add in another current pro, DJ Augustin and Texas has a duo nobody can match. On top of that, freshman lockdown defender Avery Bradley would fill out the other guard spot. Then on top of that, Damion James and Dexter Pittman would control the post.
Off the bench would only be three contributors that Rick Barnes should realistically look to: Justin Mason, Gary Johnson, and Jordan Hamilton.
Overall, Durant's offensive prowess should allow Texas to push its point per possession output to well over 1.3 ppp which should be good enough to make up for the fact this team may not be a superior squad on the defensive end of the floor.
No. 1 Ohio State
Who Ohio State lost: Following the 2007 season, Greg Oden, Mike Conley, Daequan Cook, after the 2008 season, Kosta Koufos, and after 2009, BJ Mullens.
What Ohio State would have: Senior PG Mike Conley, senior SG Daequan Cook, junior SF Evan Turner, senior F David Lighty, and senior C Greg Oden. Off the bench would be Jon Diebler, Kosta Koufos, BJ Mullens, William Bufford, and Dallas Lauderdale.
It's a pretty simple breakdown for Ohio State. By 2010, Mike Conley would be the nation's best college point guard, Greg Oden the best college center, and Evan Turner the best college small forward. Throw in some very talented role players like Daequan Cook (who was a go-to guy on the 2007 team), David Lighty, and Jon Diebler and Ohio State can easily make up for Kevin Durant of Texas.
Durant gives any team a whooping lead in head-to-head comparison, but Ohio State would take any matchup at the other four positions.
Want to complain about Greg Oden's health? Go ahead, if he's not there Kosta Koufos and BJ Mullens are there to take his place. Give them each another two or one year respectively and they both probably would have developed into extremely strong college centers.