The Pi-Rate Ratings

April 4, 2020

The Greatest NCAA Tournament That Never Was–Final Four Saturday

It is hard to believe that this would be the day of the National Semifinals of the Final Four in Atlanta.  Somehow, it feels like the end of the college basketball season was several months ago.  Thursday, March 12, 2020, was the day that a Big East Conference Tournament game between Creighton and St. John’s played the first half and went to the locker rooms never to be seen again, well at least not to finish the game at Madison Square Garden.

In the 23 days since, so much has happened globally that all cancelled sports seem to be just a speck of dust in the importance of every day life.  Most of us are now on house arrest for a crime that somebody else committed.  The punishment for violating this arrest could be death, to us or somebody we care about.  Basketball, and all other sports, doesn’t really seem to matter that much.

We thought about suspending this tournament, as it would be apropos.  We even thought about turning this entire site into a “how to grow a quick vegetable garden” with the most nutrient dense foods you can grow in your yard or patio.  But, we figured that if you have suddenly changed careers to small farmer, you probably already have done hours of research; the majority of you reading this site are analytical in nature.  That’s the perfect general description, and analytical people, like all of us on the PiRate ship, study and study and study before undertaking new endeavors.

Truth be told, our Captain, and his lady have been “farming” for 40 years.  The real reason this conclusion to this simulation almost didn’t happen was that the Captain was busy planting kale, collards, kohlrabi, lettuce, radishes, and several other early Spring crops in the ground while the monsoonal rains took a short hiatus.  These two games were just played early this morning, so the results are delayed being uploaded.

If this is your first time to this site, what you see here is a tabletop board game simulation of the Greatest Teams in College Basketball between 1960 and 2019.  We put them in a standard 68-team tournament just like the current March Madness.  All teams in this tournament received 3-point shooting ratings, even if they played in an era without the 3-point shot.  Outside shooting range was used to estimate the percentage of made shots and frequency taken of players from pre-1987.  For example, had we made a 1966 Kentucky Wildcats team, Louie Dampier’s 3-point shooting percentage would have been about 48%, and his frequency of 3-point shot attempts to 2-point shot attempts would have been about 40% to 60%.

What type of board game was used for this simulation?  The Captain is a wizard at code-breaking.  As early as the late 1960’s, he was buying tabletop games like Strat-o-Matic Baseball and cracking the codes and making his own teams.

In the late 1970’s, The Avalon Hill Company put out a new game called, “Statis-Pro Basketball.”  This was an NBA strategy game, and the Captain, now in college, quickly cracked the codes that rated the players. Soon, he began making college basketball teams.  It wasn’t so easy then to do this, because the Internet did not exist, and there were no periodicals that printed the statistics of the players.  He had to spend hours in a large university library looking at microfilmed old copies of multiple newspapers to get the stats he needed.  It wasn’t 100% accurate, as he had to do a lot of estimating, but it was close enough.

When the Internet brought sites like Sports-reference to peoples’ desktop computers, the Captain spend a lot of his hard-earned money on printing cartridges and created his own printed depository of statistics.  He was able to modify the ratings on all the players that played college basketball and were represented in his team cards, and the game became more accurate.

So, that’s where we are today.  There are four teams remaining,  Here are our Final Four participants.

 

East Region Champion: 1974 North Carolina State Wolf Pack

South Region Champion: 2018 Villanova Wildcats

Midwest Region Champion: 1968 UCLA Bruins

West Region Champion: 1972 UCLA Bruins

 

Note: You see two different shades of pale blue for UCLA above.  Between 1968 and 1972, the Bruins slightly darkened this blue color.

 

Here are the results of the Final Four Games:

 

Tiny Towe Towers over ‘Nova

 

1974 North Carolina St.

97

2018 Villanova

75

 

Monte Towe scored 20 points along with 8 assists and 6 steals, as the 1974 national champion Wolf Pack pulled away from the 2018 national champions in the second half.  Leading 60-56, North Carolina State scored 11 consecutive points to open a 71-56 lead.  Villanova never cut the lead to single digits, and after the Wildcats began to foul, NC State extended the lead past 20 points by connecting on 14 of their final 16 foul shots.

 

Boxscore

North Carolina St.

Start

FG

FGA

3P

3PA

FT

FTA

ORB

DRB

TRB

AST

STL

BLK

TOV

PF

PTS

Tom Burleson

C

7

13

0

0

4

6

3

6

9

1

0

4

4

3

18

Tim Stoddard

F

6

10

0

0

3

4

2

8

10

0

1

1

2

1

15

David Thompson

F

7

14

2

5

5

7

3

5

8

2

2

2

3

2

21

Mo Rivers

G

4

11

2

7

3

5

1

3

4

3

2

0

1

3

13

Monte Towe

G

5

9

3

6

7

9

0

2

2

8

6

0

2

1

20

Phil Spence

1

2

0

0

2

2

1

3

4

1

0

0

0

3

4

Mark Moeller

1

3

0

1

1

2

0

2

2

2

0

0

1

1

3

Steve Nuce

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

0

1

0

1

1

0

Greg Hawkins

1

1

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

3

Team

4

Totals

32

64

8

20

25

35

10

30

44

18

12

7

14

15

97

 

 

 

Villanova

Start

FG

FGA

3P

3PA

FT

FTA

ORB

DRB

TRB

AST

STL

BLK

TOV

PF

PTS

Omari Spellman

C

2

5

1

3

1

2

2

5

7

0

0

2

4

5

6

Eric Paschall

F

5

14

1

4

0

0

2

3

5

2

0

0

3

5

11

Michael Bridges

F

5

11

2

5

2

3

2

7

9

3

2

0

5

4

14

Phil Booth

G

4

11

2

7

4

5

1

4

5

3

1

0

1

4

14

Jalen Brunson

G

4

10

2

6

3

4

0

3

3

4

1

0

5

3

13

Donte DiVincenzo

4

8

2

5

2

2

0

2

2

1

1

0

2

2

12

Collin Gillespie

2

5

1

3

0

0

0

1

1

0

0

0

1

5

5

Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

1

0

0

0

0

1

0

Tim Delaney

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

0

1

0

0

2

0

Jermaine Samuels

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

Team

3

Totals

26

65

11

33

12

16

8

26

37

13

6

2

21

32

75

Player of the Game

Monte Towe

 

Score By Halves

Team

1

2

Final

N. C. State

51

46

97

Villanova

44

31

75

 

68 Bruins Kareem 72 Bruins

 

1968 UCLA

95

1972 UCLA

92

 

In a game that had more comebacks than Frank Sinatra, the 1968 UCLA Bruins took the lead late and kept it over their four year later counterpart.  The game was fast-paced and exciting with neither team enjoying a lead of more than eight points.

In the first half, the 1972 Bruins took an early 9-4 lead on baskets by Greg Lee and Larry Farmer.  The 1968 squad staged a comeback following a Lucius Allen made three-pointer, and then after a block by Kareem Abdul Jabbar on a shot attempt by Jamaal Wilkes, Mike Warren retrieved the rebound and found Mike Lynn open for a basket.  Lynn was fouled and made the foul shot to tie the game at 9-9.

The remainder of the first half was close with the lead changing hands six times.  On the last possession of the half, 1972’s Tommy Curtis sunk a three-point shot at the buzzer (the last card in the deck), as the 72’s took a 49-46 lead into the locker.

The 1968 Bruins grabbed the lead at 59-58, and then the 1972 team went on a 10-2 run to take a 68-61 lead, their biggest lead of the day.  At that point, the 1968 team, not noted for pressing like many other John Wooden-coached teams, decided to press full court, and they forced the 1972 Bruins into 6 turnovers in the next 9 possessions.  This allowed the 1968 team to make a 14-3 run to take a 75-71 lead.

The 1972 team was not done.  The 1968 team went cold at this point and missed five consecutive shots.  Bill Walton rebounded four of these missed shots, and the 1972 Bruins’ fast break produced eight points off the misses.  The 1972 team ran off 10 consecutive points to go ahead 81-75.

At this point, the 1968 team decided to sink or swim with its big star, the hero that won three national championship in three years in real life.  Jabbar took the 1968 team’s next five shots, hitting four, while the 1972 team committed three turnovers.  The 1972 Bruins enjoyed a 13-4 run to go ahead 88-85, and they held on to the lead for the remainder of the game.

 

Boxscore

1968 UCLA

Start

FG

FGA

3P

3PA

FT

FTA

ORB

DRB

TRB

AST

STL

BLK

TOV

PF

PTS

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

C

8

15

0

0

4

7

5

14

19

1

1

5

2

3

20

Mike Lynn

F

6

13

1

2

3

4

1

8

9

2

3

0

5

2

16

Lynn Shackleford

F

4

11

1

4

2

2

0

5

5

0

2

0

4

4

11

Lucius Allen

G

6

14

2

5

3

5

1

4

5

5

4

0

3

4

17

Mike Warren

G

6

14

3

7

5

6

0

2

2

6

2

0

2

1

20

Jim Nielsen

2

5

0

0

0

0

2

4

6

1

0

1

2

3

4

Kenny Heitz

3

8

1

3

0

0

1

2

3

2

1

0

3

4

7

Team

3

Totals

35

80

8

21

17

24

10

39

52

17

13

6

21

21

95

1972 UCLA

Start

FG

FGA

3P

3PA

FT

FTA

ORB

DRB

TRB

AST

STL

BLK

TOV

PF

PTS

Bill Walton

C

7

13

0

0

3

5

4

11

15

3

2

3

4

5

17

Jamaal Wilkes

F

5

11

2

5

3

4

3

9

12

1

1

1

2

3

15

Larry Farmer

F

4

9

1

3

0

0

1

5

6

0

0

0

6

2

9

Greg Lee

G

4

14

2

8

4

5

1

4

5

2

3

0

3

2

14

Henry Bibby

G

5

12

2

6

5

6

0

3

3

4

2

0

5

3

17

Tommy Curtis

4

11

2

7

3

4

0

1

1

3

2

0

2

2

13

Larry Hollyfield

2

5

1

3

0

0

1

2

3

2

1

0

2

3

5

Swen Nater

1

2

0

0

0

0

1

2

3

0

0

1

1

2

2

Team

3

Totals

32

77

10

32

18

24

11

37

51

15

11

5

25

22

92

Player of the Game

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

 

Score By Halves

Team

1

2

Final

1968 UCLA

46

49

95

1972 UCLA

49

43

92

 

National Championship Game Monday Night

 

1974 North Carolina State Wolf Pack vs. 1968 UCLA Bruins

 

 

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