Revisiting the NBA JAM:TE Equivalents: Final Four edition

Hopefully you all remember one of my first posts about this year’s NCAA tournament where I power-ranked the teams and gave you an NBA JAM: TE equivalent for each of them. Well, it turns out that I was way off, just like everyone else who tried to predict this year’s tournament results before it started. Not only was I way off, but I gave you eleven teams that were going to be good and only 2 of them made it to the Final Four. Realistically, no one would have thought that VCU and Butler would make it this far, but that doesn’t change the fact that I still missed them. To amp up for the weekend, I’m going to give you a little preview of the action by finding NBA JAM:TE teams that compare to the style of the two teams I missed. I’ll also recap what I wrote about U-Conn and Kentucky. I won’t try to rank the four remaining teams because that wouldn’t actually do anything. These rankings can help you choose which teams you cheer for or how they match up against each other. I know that you can’t go back and re-pick these games, but if you’re a gambler or even if you’re just upset about your team being out and are looking for a new school to cheer for, hopefully the comparisons help.

Here are the two old comparisons from my tournament preview:

Kentucky Wildcats

Manning/Majerle = UK's Knight/Lamb/Miller

Another team I probably rank higher than most people. But here’s why: they have three players (Brandon Knight, Doron Lamb, Darius Miller) who have made 50 three-pointers this year, and it’s not just because they shoot a lot. The worst percentage of the three of them is .387. I love the long-ball. In addition to this, Terrence Jones led the SEC in rebounding and scores the ball well from the post.
NBA JAM: TE Equivalent- Phoenix Suns. This team is all shooters. Manning, Johnson and Majerle are all at least a 7 in threes and Tisdale rebounds and dunks with power. They’re just like the Wildcats.

Connecticut Huskies

Miller/Smits = UConn's Walker/Oriakhi

Kemba Walker has been the best player in the country this year. He’s elite at scoring and can do it all by himself. Alex Oriakhi rebounds very well, and Shabazz Napier handles most guard responsibilities a lot better than average, but everyone knows this team belongs to Walker.
NBA JAM: TE Equivalent Indiana Pacers. Walker is one of the best scorers in the game, like Miller, who also has a high clutch rating. Oriakhi, like Smits is going to rebounds and block shots, but that’s it. It’s a shame this team doesn’t have an unlockable Mark Jackson, because Napier is calling for it.

And here are the two new ones:

Virginia Commonwealth (VCU)

Mashburn/Jackson = VCU's Skeen/Burgess

The two best players on this team seem to be Jaime Skeen (a big guy who has excellent speed and has a great jump shot)  and Bradford Burgess (a wing scorer who shoots three-pointers well and has the size and speed to slash to the basket when needed). After those two, Guard Brandon Rozzell (who shot the lights out against Kansas) and Joey Rodriguez (the point guard who isn’t really spectacular, but makes plays and never makes mistakes) are also important players.
NBA JAM: TE Equivalent- Dallas Mavericks. Like VCU, the Mavericks are supposed to be one of the worst teams in the game, but if you play with them, you realize quickly that they’re actually pretty unbeatable. With the extended roster, this team can play Jamal Mashburn (Skeen) with either Jim Jackson (Rozzell), Jason  Kidd (Rodriguez) or Tony Dumas (shaky, but Burgess). As close to a dead ringer for VCU as you can get.


Can you pick Butler's Matt Howard and Shelvin Mack out of this lineup?

Butler has a bunch of players on the roster, but I feel like when I watch them, it’s pretty much just Matt Howard and Shelvin Mack and then a bunch of other guys occasionally doing things. The rest of the team is good (they did make it to the Final Four), but those two guys are most of the team. Howard can do it all: he rebounds, he scores, he shoots a great percentage from the three-point line and is generally everywhere. Mack is a guard who plays bigger than he is, and scores as well as Howard, passes better, and rebounds worse.
NBA JAM: TE Equivalent- None. You heard that right. Most NBA JAM teams have three players and I like to use the extended roster for these equivalents anyways, but I feel like Butler really only has two players worth noting. In that case, I’m going to take you on a trip to my second favorite basketball video game of the ’90s — Barkley: Shut Up and Jam! Howard and Mack are just like the two-man team of Sir Charles and Sweet Pea. Sir Charles is a big who can push you around, drive it through you or shoot it over you (Howard), and Sweet Pea (Mack) is a guard who has the speed, steal and outside shooting to make the perfect complement.