For the last few weeks, we’ve been narrowing a field of hypothetical NCAA teams featuring players that have left early for the NBA, but would still have been eligible for this year’s tournament (if you missed it, check out previous posts here, here, here, and here).
Our final match-up is not at all surprising. It features two would-be seniors who went one and two in the 2008 NBA Draft in Greg Oden of Ohio State and Kevin Durant of Texas. Their NBA careers have been heading in different directions: Durant is a budding superstar leading a young team to the playoffs, and Oden whose career has been hampered by injuries and camera phone penis photos. At any rate, it could have been an exciting rivalry these past few years, if not for their early NBA exits.
Here are the lineups. Be sure to vote in the poll at the bottom. Voting closes midnight Friday.
#1 Ohio State
The Buckeyes are our #1 overall seed. They haven’t had as much tournament success as I’m sure their fans would like, but most of that can be attributed to a plethora of early exits. When you see this lineup, it’s clear that Thad Matta is doing a hell of a job recruiting. They’ve got 5 guys who have left early the last few years, including three 7-footers in Greg Oden, Kosta Koufos, and B.J. Mullens.
Greg Oden* – Center, 7 ft, 285 lbs. Despite being plagued by injuries during his NBA career, Oden had a tremendous one year run in college. It’s hard to imagine him not being incredibly dominant as a college senior.
Evan Turner – Forward, 6 ft 7 in, 205 lbs.
Mike Conley* – Guard, 6 ft 1 in, 185 lbs.
Daequan Cook* – Guard, 6 ft 5 in, 195 lbs.
William Buford – Guard, 6 ft 5 in, 185 lbs.
Key Reserves: B.J. Mullens*, Kosta Koufos*.
This was a down year for the Longhorns, but if they still had Kevin Durant and D.J. Augustin, things would be a little different. Augustin has been solid after leaving before his junior season, and Durant is an MVP candidate who is averaging almost 30 points per game in Oklahoma City.
Dexter Pittman – Center, 6 ft 10 in, 290 lbs.
Damion James – Forward, 6 ft 7 in, 225 lbs.
Kevin Durant* – Forward, 6 ft 9 in, 230 lbs.
D.J. Augustin* – Guard, 6 ft, 180 lbs.
Avery Bradley – Guard, 6 ft 2 in, 180 lbs.
Thanks for reading. Check back at the end of the week for the results.