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Taking the NBA Back to School - Final Four

Game Recaps of NBA University's Final Four
By Eric Schmoldt - WhatIfSports.com
March 29th, 2010
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Welcome to NBA University, where our enrollment is always on the rise.

One week from today the NCAA will crown its 72nd national basketball champion.

Throughout the past two decades dozens of programs have witnessed their finest athletes graduate to the NBA. Whatifsports.com wanted to know which of those colleges and universities produced the best professional basketball players of the last 20 years.

To get the discussion started, we narrowed the field. Whatifsports.com only selected NBA players who have stepped on the court sometime between 1990 and 2009. We took the players' best season over the course of the last twenty years and placed them on their corresponding All-University team. Click here to view the master roster list for all 16 programs participating in the tournament.

After sifting through dozens of eligible schools and their contributions to the NBA, Whatifsports.com settled on these top 16 programs. We then seeded the schools based on a power ranking system.

Over the next week, Whatifsports.com will use its free college basketball simulation technology to play-out NBA University's Final Four.

Each game was simulated 1,001 times. The Whatifsports.com super-computers generated each team's winning percentage and average score in addition to example box scores you can view for yourself.

nba BRACKET

Round 3 Results

Spartans emblem vs Tar Heels emblem

NBA Simulation Results
MatchupWin%Avg Score 
4) North Carolina 31.1102.9Boxscore
1) Michigan State 68.9108.9Simulate Game
kevin willis

Michael Jordan didn't have Scottie Pippen this time around.

He surely could have used him - or anyone that could defend Magic Johnson for that matter - as Johnson was out for revenge from the 1991 NBA Finals.

Ironically, that season, in which Jordan and Pippen cruised to a 4-1 Finals victory over Johnson and the Lakers, was the season that was used for both players throughout the NBAU tournament.

But this time it was Johnson who had the supporting cast to get the job done.

Magic, still by far the frontrunner for the tournament's Most Outstanding Player, posted yet another triple-double with 23 points, 13 assists and 12 rebounds as Michigan State jumped on top early and held on against North Carolina to advance to the NBAU championship game.

Michigan State's Zach Randolph scored 11 of his 21 points in the first quarter as the Spartans cruised out to a 38-21 lead.

But Jordan and North Carolina nearly erased that deficit by halftime as he scored 11 points in the second quarter. The eleven-point production nearly matched his teammates' output for the entire game.

Then, in the fourth quarter, he and Vince Carter nearly pulled off the upset.

Trailing 100-93, Carter and Jordan put together a 7-0 run by themselves with Carter drilling a jumper that tied the game at 100 with just 35 seconds left.

But Johnson capped off his triple-double by assisting on Jason Richardson's go-ahead 3-pointer. He then grabbed a rebound off a Jordan brick and the Spartans closed the game with a 7-0 run of their own to secure a spot in the championship.

Jordan scored a team-high 25 points, but no other Tar Heel had more than 14 and they couldn't seem to keep Kevin Willis off the glass.

Willis posted a game-high 28 points and 21 rebounds, 10 of them coming on the offensive end, giving the Spartans an old-school feel and Johnson enough support.

Nobody has been able to stop Magic yet. He's got a triple-double in every single round and now might have his biggest nemesis out of the way.

Bruins emblem vs Blue Devils emblem

NBA Simulation Results
MatchupWin%Avg Score 
3) UCLA 35.5104.5Boxscore
2) Duke 64.5109.3Simulate Game
carlos boozer Carlos Boozer scored 26 points and ripped down 16 rebounds in Duke's win over UCLA.

Duke knows a thing or two about lopsided games in the Final Four.

Now the Blue Devils just hope they don't get crushed like the 30-point drubbing they endured in the 1990 championship game.

The score in this one might not reflect any sort of blowout, but like Michigan State, Duke won its semifinal matchup about two-thirds of the 1,001 times that it was played and now has secured a spot in the finals with Magic and the Spartans.

Once again, this one featured some big numbers but basically came down to who had the better supporting cast.

And yet again, this semifinal came down to the final minute.

The Blue Devils led for most of the first three quarters, but the Bruins - led once again by Reggie Miller - put together a ferocious comeback.

Trailing 107-100, Miller was fouled shooting a 3-pointer and buried all three free throws. He then followed that up with another jumper that brought UCLA within two points with just 16 seconds remaining.

The Bruins had to foul and put Grant Hill on the line. He put Duke back up by four and Miller's 3-pointer didn't fall as the Blue Devils held on and won.

Statistically, this game couldn't have been much closer, but once again it came down to which college team has provided the best depth at the next level.

Reggie Miller scored a game-high 33 points, but just three other UCLA players scored in double figures and none of them had more than 12 points.

Carlos Boozer led the way for Duke with 26 points and 16 rebounds. The Blue Devils only had one other player with more than a dozen points. Five others had at least 10, including Christian Laettner who also posted a double-double.

Now the question has to be who will the Blue Devils throw at Magic Johnson to try and stop the triple-double machine?

We could also see a Blue Devil blowout finale on the horizon. This NBAU tournament is making the seeding and selection committee look pretty smart.

Final Four Recap

Now the question has to be who will the Blue Devils throw at Magic Johnson to try and stop the triple-double machine?

We could also see a Blue Devil blowout finale on the horizon. This NBAU tournament is making the seeding and selection committee look pretty smart.

Make sure to check back Monday April 5th for Championship results of Whatifsports.com's NBA University Tournament.

Agree, disagree or have your own NBA University candidates in mind? Shoot us an email at BtB@whatifsports.com!

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