The fine folks at CBS have put together their college basketball dream teams, and with no Kansas game until Monday, I figured I'd instead take a crack at trying to beat their teams (which, frankly, shouldn't be that tough given that two of them have the third best player on Missouri's team, one has Austin Rivers, etc. etc.). The rules are at the post but I'll put them below for your convenience:
- Team can't have more than one player from a single school (ie. Must choose either Anthony Davis or Michael Kidd-Gilchrist from Kentucky, not both).
- At least four players on the team must come from a non-BCS affiliated league.
- Bench players must actually come off the bench for their real team.
- One player will be chosen to redshirt because, frankly, no one uses all 13 of their scholarships.
- Player positions are the discretion of the writer (ie. Whether Jared Sullinger is a center or forward).
Let's get to it!
PG: Aaron Craft, Ohio State
You'll see immediately that this shuts me off from picking Jared Sullinger. I'm ok with this for two reasons: There are more really good big men in college basketball (even if Sullinger is probably the best one) than there are good college point guards. Secondly, college basketball is a guards game. Guards win in the NCAA tournament, and every other cliche you can think of. They're actually true. Craft's turnover rate is a little high for what I like in a point guard, but he has an assist rate near 30%, shoots 74% from the line, and is the best on ball defender in college basketball. The ability to take the opposing point guard out of the game entirely is a skill too alluring to pass up.
SG: Marcus Denmon, Missouri
Denmon provides some much needed Senior leadership, when most "dream teams" out there will likely be heavy on Sophomores and Freshmen (for example, my starting 5 has 2 Sophomores and a Freshman). Denmon isn't up to Craft's level defensively, but he can certainly hold his own against most two guards. If Craft has a rough turnover day, Denmon turns it over a just a 3.6% rate, also known as 2nd best in the entire country. He takes 29.8% of Missouri's shots while on the floor, and is shooting a 66.2% eFG (making 49% of his threes). Denmon is also a very good rebounder for a guard (15.4% defensive rebound rate), which all adds up to a 146.6 offensive rating, third best in the entire country.
SF: Doug McDermott, Creighton
McDermott is probably a better off the bench guy, but I like McDermott's ability to score when the major focal point of his team's offense, so imagine what he could do when he's not. He has a 70.7% eFG for Creighton, 10th best in the country, and a 25.1% defensive rebounding rate, which anyone will take from a small forward. He also shoots 78% from the line, so is yet another guy who you can get the ball to late in a close game. I'm not sure on his defense, but with the makeup of this team you can certainly hide him if need be.
PF: Thomas Robinson, Kansas
Robinson is scoring at a higher rate lately, upping his eFG to 53.1%. But he's also doing it while getting swarmed with double teams. With teams not being able to double him Robinson could go to work offensively and score much more efficiently. He also is a phenomenal rebounder, with his 30.3% defensive rebounding rate being 7th nationally. I'd like for him to be a bit of a better shot blocker, but that is taken care of by....
C: Anthony Davis, Kentucky
Davis won't have to be a scorer on this team, but if he does need to shoot he has a 67.7% eFG, so he can fill it up if need be. Davis rebounds both offensively (11.5%) and defensively (22.5%) and most importantly he's a phenomenal natural shot blocker (14.4%, 9th nationally). If, god forbid, Craft or Denmon or McDermott get blown by defensively you have the ultimate eraser in the lane to get rid of it. Plus he and Robinson can both run the floor tremendously well and should pick up quite a few easy buckets in transition.
Harrison Barnes, North Carolina
I'll need a scorer for the second unit, and I can't think of many better than Barnes, who is one of the go to guys for the Tar Heels. He's shooting 52% from three, but right now is a better jump shooter than pure scorer, to be fair.
Jordan Taylor, Wisconsin
If Craft gets a bit turnover prone then I'll have no choice but to turn it over to Taylor, who has an 11.7% turnover rate and last year had the second lowest turnover rate in the country at just 8.5%. He's not as good of a pure defender as Craft but Wisconsin's defense is currently ranked 1st in KenPom so he can't be too bad
Perry Jones, Baylor
Continuing the energy big man theme, Baylor is one of the most physically talented players in the country. He just came back from a suspension but has a 68% eFG in the early going. I'm a bit worried about the potential for him to cause a rift by coming off the bench, but I'm going to pretend those type of chemistry issues aren't a concern
Mid Major Reserves
Scott Machado, Iona
Having three great point guards on your team is a luxury, but one we are certainly going to take advantage of. Machado's 44.3% assist rate ranks 6th in the country.
Isiah Canaan, Murray State
Three point shooting might be a bit of a problem with this team, so to fix that I'll add Canaan, who is shooting 48.4% from behind the arc, and is 10th in total made threes.
Miles Plumlee, Duke
Plumlee is the 25th best offensive rebounder in the country, and has a 65.8% eFG. Instant energy guy.
Cody Zeller, Indiana
I'm assuming all of Davis, Robinson and Jones are off to the NBA after the year, so Zeller will be a great anchor in the post for next year.