Today's matchup between the Kansas Jayhawks and Texas Longhorns is not just for the passionate Big 12 fan, it is a game that should be viewed by any college fan, pro fan, or actually, anyone that loves the game of basketball. There should be no reason you are not watching this game. There will probably be as many as five future pro players on the court at any given time and guys like Marcus Morris, Josh Selby, and Jordan Hamilton will probably go on to be NBA stars.
Who wins in the alumni game, Kansas or Texas?
Kansas has had great point guards over the last fifteen years, but few have gone on to have significant pro success.
The pool to choose from for Kansas are former college stars Mario Chalmers, Sherron Collins, and Aaron Miles.
Since Mario Chalmers is the only one of the three with a consistent NBA paycheck, he will get the starting role:
Mario Chalmers: 6.2 ppg, 2.1 apg, 2.1 rpg
Coming off the bench will be both Sherron Collins and Aaron Miles.
As for Texas, they have an impressive list too with even more NBA success. DJ Augustin, Daniel Gibson, and TJ Ford to choose from. Augustin will get the nod for the starting role, but will split time with Gibson. TJ Ford will be in the Chris Duhon role.
DJ Augustin: 14.6 ppg, 6.3 apg, 3.0 rpg
Daniel Gibson: 13.8 ppg, 3.2 apg, 3.2 rpg
TJ Ford: 5.8 ppg, 3.6 apg, 2.0 rpg
Texas' third string point guard TJ Ford almost has more impressive stats than the Kansas starter Mario.
Texas takes lead in the best of seven series, 1-0.
This is not exactly Texas's strong point. They can offer Maurice Evans and Royal Ivey.
Maurice Evans: 4.4 ppg, 0.6 apg, 1.9 rpg
Royal Ivey: 2.1 ppg, 0.4 apg, 0.9 rpg
Kansas on the other hand has Kirk Hinrich and Brandon Rush.
Kirk Hinrich: 11.4 ppg, 5.4 apg, 3.1 rpg
Brandon Rush: 11.5 ppg, 1.1 apg, 3.8 rpg
The Longhorns would be able to move Daniel Gibson over to the shooting guard slot a lot of times, but still the combination of Hinrich and Rush wins the shooting guard battle.
Series tied, 1-1.
Both Kansas and Texas have produced their biggest superstar at this position.
Kevin Durant versus Paul Pierce
Kevin Durant: 28.2 ppg, 2.9 apg, 6.2 rpg
Paul Pierce: 19.1 ppg, 3.4 apg, 5.1 rpg
Pierce has a chance to end his career with a possible 2nd and somewhat attainable 3rd title. I don't think he can land another NBA Finals MVP as those would probably go to Rajon Rondo if they were to win again.
Kevin Durant will win multiple league MVPs, probably 5+ scoring titles, and at only 22 years old it's hard to imagine in the next 14 years he won't at least win one NBA Finals and accompanying NBA Finals MVP.
Both are all time great players, but the win here goes to Kevin Durant.
Kansas has more to choose from, but Texas has the superstar.
Drew Gooden: 10.8 ppg, 6.5 rpg
Darrell Arthur: 8.0 ppg, 0.5 apg, 4.2 rpg
Darnell Jackson: 3.4 ppg, 2.0 rpg
Texas Ultimate Option:
LaMarcus Aldridge: 21.3 ppg, 2.0 apg, 8.8 rpg
Kansas could throw a lot at Aldridge, but at the end of the day all three Jayhawks add up to only score 0.1 more points than Aldridge. LaMarcus has carried the Trailblazers on his back all season long, and gives the Longhorns a 3-1 lead.
The Longhorns do not have one, the Jayhawks kind of do.
Undersized Collison will step into the starting center role and go up against either an out of retirement Chris Mihm or a called up Dexter Pittman.
Collison gets the must win center spot.
While Rick Barnes and his staff have done a terrific job at Texas, I don't know if any program in the country could put together a bench of their current and former coaches that looks like this.
Head Coach: Larry Brown
Assistant Coaches: Bill Self, Roy Williams
Player Development: Danny Manning
The reason you see so many Kansas big men excelling and will soon see the Morris twins join the likes of Gooden and Collison in the NBA, is due to Danny Manning. Roy Williams has two titles, Self has one, Brown has one in both the NCAA and NBA.
Kansas ties the series 3-3.
The Longhorns have the two bigger names with Durant and Aldridge, but their bench would be thin.
Daniel Gibson, TJ Ford, and Royal Ivey are good backup guards, but how would they handle Kansas's depth at post?
Kansas's second line would look like this:
PG Sherron Collins
SG Brandon Rush
SF Julian Wright
PF Darrell Arthur
C Darnell Jackson
The bench and Game 7 goes to the Jayhawks.
It should be no surprise for anyone who have watched these KU vs. Texas games that this too would be a close one.
The combination of Kevin Durant and LaMarcus Aldridge together would be extremely scary for opposing teams. It almost happened at Texas (had Aldridge stayed more than one year) then almost happened in Portland (but Portland chose Greg Oden). They would probably have to put Durant at the power forward and Aldridge at center, which would work since both are nearly 7'.
From there they could go with a three guard attack of Augustin, Gibson, and Ford, a pairing of quickness and three point shooting that could hurt the Jayhawks as their focus would be on Durant and Aldridge.
But in the end, the coaching of Larry Brown, who found a way to beat a pairing of Kobe and Shaq, Bill Self, who found a way to beat Kevin Durant, and Roy Williams, who knows how to play an uptempo game, would find a way to swarm Aldridge with their bigs and have Pierce try to go hit for hit with Durant. In a seven game series, the lack of depth would catch up to the Longhorns and trying to steal a game on the road in Allen Fieldhouse is almost impossible.
In the end, it will be the fans in blue chanting Rock Chalk Jayhawk, Go KU.