This weekend was supposed to be when the basketball world descended on Atlanta for the Final Four, but with the NCAA Tournament canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak, this weekend will be much like the last two, one of filling the time however possible and continuing to try and stay safe through social distancing to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
Still, we can’t shake the feeling that we should be able to take in some college hoops this weekend and as such we are firing up a 10-year-old video game to give us a glimpse at what could have been. There has not been a college basketball video game made since EA Sports’ NCAA Basketball 10, so I dusted off my Xbox 360 and, after some trials and tribulations involving an old game disc, got to work on figuring out what might have happened if the 2020 Final Four played out with rosters from 2009-10.
Since we don’t know what the Final Four would actually look like, we are going to simulate a few different possibilities. The first being the chalk favorites (Gonzaga, Dayton, Kansas, and Baylor), pitting the four top seeds from Joe Lunardi’s final bracket prediction against each other, which as we all know never happens, but it’s a starting point. The second was taking the Final Four from FiveThirtyEight’s projections (Kansas, Maryland, San Diego State, and Michigan State).
The third was building the 2020 bracket (using Lundardi’s final prediction) in the 2010 game and having the video game determine a Final Four, of which it did a surprisingly good job of and didn’t have any wild upsets. The Final Four the game projects is Kansas, Villanova, Gonzaga, and Ohio State (with full results able to be seen at the bottom of this post).
We will be simulating these games, available for you to watch if you so choose on our Twitch channel (twitch.tv/DimeUproxx). We’ll be streaming one Final Four (semifinals followed by finals) each day Saturday through Monday on 10 minute halves, so three games will take just over an hour, total. We’ll start with the all-chalk games on Saturday, FiveThirtyEight’s bracket prediction Final Four on Sunday, and the NCAA 10 predictions on Monday, with all streams starting at 5 p.m. ET.
NCAA 2010 Bracket Prediction