For the past few weeks, we have gone through each of the major college conferences and ranked each college hoops programs based upon its NBA production post-1980. Today, we finally reach the not the Final Four but the Final Six….the rankings of the best teams of the each of the six major college conferences against each other. Obviously, this is still a subjective endeavor and is not still not meant to be the gospel truth. Still, in reviewing each conference, we’ve been relatively satisfied with the results and have had very few cases where we left the past rankings with many pangs of doubt.
The only issue that gets me here is that the best six college teams are not necessarily the best from each conference. For example, Michigan and Kentucky didn’t win their hypothetical conference tourneys but arguably stack with almost any other college program. The reason to keep them out, however, is because we know they can’t top the best of their conference, so they have no chance of being number one. As such, we limit to conference winners only, with the understanding that it is possible that these are not the six best teams overall. With that disclaimer, let’s rank the top six:
6. Kansas: PG: Kirk Hinrich, SG: Paul Pierce, SF: Danny Manning, PF: Drew Gooden, C: Raef LaFrentz
5. Alabama: PG: Mo Williams, SG: Latrell Sprewell, SF: Gerald Wallace, PF: Derrick McKey, C: Antonio McDyess
4. UCLA: PG: Baron Davis, SG: Reggie Miller, SF: Kiki Vandeweghe, PF: Kevin Love, C: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
3. Georgetown: PG: Sleepy Floyd, SG: Allen Iverson, SF: Jeff Green, PF: Alonzo Mourning, C: Patrick Ewing
2. Michigan State: PG: Magic Johnson, SG: Steve Smith, SF: Jason Richardson, PF: Zach Randolph, C: Kevin Willis
1. North Carolina: PG: Raymond Felton, SG: Michael Jordan, SF: Vince Carter, PF: Rasheed Wallace, C: Brad Daugherty
-Kansas has a nice team but against the best they conspicuously lack stars, which puts them clearly in the rear.
-Bama is a fun team too, but they actually have fewer stars then Kansas. Their overall balance/depth puts them ahead of the Kansas but it isn’t enough to match anyone else.
-Arguably, we have UCLA too low. The only reasons to do so are because Love’s career is still very young and we are only using Kareem post-1980, when he was a Hall of Famer but not other worldy.
-I hate putting Georgetown ahead of UCLA but a Zo/Ewing front line seems like it would overrun UCLA. Let’s just say UCLA vs. Georgetown is practically a push.
-To rank Michigan State so high, you have to do so on Magic’s ability. The rest of the squad is okay but you have to assume no one can match up at point, which is ostensibly true with the other give teams. They could lose to UCLA or G’Town but Magic is likely the difference maker.
-As for UNC, MJ and four scrubs might still be the best team in our tourney. It turns out, however, that the Tar Heels are totally stacked. They have the best small forward and possibly the best power forward in Rasheed. Even if Wallace isn’t the best, he can guard everyone. Daugherty couldn’t stop Ewing or Kareem but he should be able to score enough with MJ and the crew to make this team clearly the best of the bunch.
Next time…we’ll return to the present NBA and preview the NBA playoffs…