It’s here, folks. You’re ready. I’m ready. We’re all ready. The A Dime Back All-Time NCAA Tournament Challenge (aka FrankenTourney), a project I’ve been tinkering with for literally the last ten+ years, is finally ready for public consumption. Before we get started, I thought I’d answer some of your questions.
Q: What are you talking about?
For those of you who are new to ADimeBack, this is a 68-team (yes, 68 teams, so there is a play-in round), single-elimination tournament, just like the NCAA tournament, with all-time rosters from (what I consider to be) the top 68 schools in NCAA basketball history. Not just in terms of actual program success, but also in terms of how good a roster they could put together for this tournament.
Q: What can I do?
Starting next week, you’ll be able to vote on the winners of each match-up, starting with the play-in rounds. I’ve included the starting lineups and backups at each position for each program, as well as a coach, some basic information about the program’s history, and a brief (usually) write-up about their roster for this tournament. Each team has also already been seeded and placed in a (generally) geographically appropriate region.
Q: How were the rosters chosen?
Basically, just by me. I used a number of tools for this. I looked up the best alumni from every program on Basketball-Reference, looking at both college and pro stats, and I used the school’s websites to look at record holders and who fans voted onto all-time teams. I visited message boards for other programs, and occasionally took their advice (UNC fans wanted Tyler Hansbrough to start, so I rejected a lot of opinions). At the end of the day, a lot of it was gut feeling.
Q: Wait, pro stats? Why should those matter? Isn’t this just for college?
Yes, the assumption is that these players would be as good as they were in college, but shorter seasons and wildly variable quality of play make those numbers less reliable. Using pro stats does provide a more consistent level of competition. Furthermore, most of the players in this tournament had extensive NBA experience, so it’s useful to see how players performed against elite talent. There are obviously going to be players who have no pro experience, whether it be because they just finished college last year (Shabazz Napier) or because of other extenuating circumstances (Len Bias). In the end, it’s just one of many tools I used to put these together.
Q: So how did you decide on the 68 schools you chose?
Probably the first 40-45 were pretty obvious. After that it was just a matter of looking up who has had success, both as a team and in terms of producing the best talent. Some teams that have been really successful haven’t produced that many top players (Pitt), so they’re lower than you’d think. Other teams haven’t been that successful, but have produced a few truly great players (LSU), so they’re higher than you’d think. I ended up having to cut a few schools near the end, so if you attended one of those schools, I apologize. Except for BC fans. I cut BC and I don’t feel even a little bad about it. It felt really good, because it was completely on merit, but also I don’t like you.
Q: Wow, this sounds amazing! Where can I get updates?
You can like our Facebook page and follow me, Tyler, Meghan, Alex, and Russell on Twitter. We’ll be posting updates, recaps, and voting reminders whenever there is something new to do or read. You also won’t miss future posts or podcasts! You can also bookmark the All-Time NCAA Tournament Challenge page, where we’ll provide a running update of all votes, and an up-to-date bracket.
Q: Where can I find the bracket?
You can find a printable copy of the bracket HERE.
Q: Before you go, do you have anyone you want to thank?
I’m so glad you asked! I’d like to thank the whole ADimeBack gang, especially Tyler, for his many hours of computer wizardry and picture searchery, without which this almost certainly would have never happened.