NBA UCLA Bruins vs. NBA Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Sometimes, you have to find beauty in a matchup even when the final result is inevitable. The NBA UCLA Bruins vs. NBA Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets is a mismatch, due to the brilliance of UCLA’s roster. However, Georgia Tech has some unique lineup combinations they can throw out to confound the more talented Bruins. Can they use their quickness and shooting to steal a game or two in this series? Or will UCLA brush them aside on their quest toward the championship? Here’s how the series will play out.

NBA UCLA Bruins vs. NBA Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Key Matchup

UCLA’s two-center lineup versus Georgia’s Tech’s frontcourt – UCLA has a massive Twin Towers lineup, featuring 7’2” Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and the 7’0” plus Bill Walton, whose listed height of 6’11” was known to be a gross underestimation. Georgia Tech will start each game off with a traditional power forward, Derrick Favors, and an undersized center, Chris Bosh. They also have a solid defender in John Salley coming off the bench, along with their biggest player, 7’0” Matt Geiger. However, none of these players realistically has a chance to stop either Jabbar or Walton. What can Georgia Tech do to make it interesting? They can play Thaddeus Young together with Bosh, and just try to outquick the UCLA duo on the offensive end of the court. Or they can play four perimeter players around Bosh and force one of UCLA’s centers to defend out to the three-point line. Georgia Tech will have to be creative, since playing UCLA straight up is a losing proposition.

Biggest Mismatches

UCLA’s size – The reason Georgia Tech will have to be creative is because they don’t have the personnel to even bother UCLA’s centers. Walton will be able to see over the top of his defenders in the high post, while Jabbar will face little resistance scoring inside and out. The big men will be staggered so each is paired with Kevin Love, who will provide a unique combination of spacing and rebounding on the offensive end, and Sidney Wicks, whose quickness and athleticism will help him on the defensive end of the court against Georgia Tech’s perimeter-oriented options. Outside of Bosh, Georgia Tech’s big men are more pedestrian than spectacular, and they don’t have the size or skill to compete.

Georgia Tech’s small ball – Since UCLA’s two best players are traditional centers, expect Georgia Tech to do everything possible to get them off of the court. Play Mark Price, Stephon Marbury, Jon Barry, and Dennis Scott alongside Chris Bosh, to have a three-point threat at every position? Sure! Try to utilize a breakneck pace to take advantage of the ball-handling skills of Marbury, Kenny Anderson, and Jarrett Jack? Absolutely! There’s no reason why this team can’t be entertaining, even if they’re getting blown out in the process.

UCLA’s star power – Despite these theatrics, UCLA has a Hall-of-Fame-caliber player at every position in their starting lineup, and all-star level talent from one through 12. If Georgia Tech wants to get into a three-point shooting contest, UCLA’s Reggie Miller, Gail Goodrich, Kiki Vandeweghe, and Kevin Love would likely make that a losing proposition. Get in an up tempo battle, and the irrepressible Russell Westbrook will attack with Marques Johnson, Jamaal Wilkes, and those wonderful shooters at his disposal. Jabbar and Walton will doom them in the halfcourt game. There are no good options for Georgia Tech.


Jabbar and Walton – Two of the greatest centers ever facing a team with only one seven footer on its roster (the replacement-level Matt Geiger)? Goodnight.


Georgia Tech has some funky lineup configurations, and the underappreciated Price and Bosh, but this one was over before it started.

UCLA wins, four games to none.

Next Round

UCLA faces the winner of the Syracuse Orange vs. Arizona Wildcats in the second round of our tournament.

NBA Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

NBA Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Our next profile details a team that has been an also-ran for much of its existence. They’ve made two Final Four appearances, but have only finished in the AP top 25 eight times in history. Despite these hardships, they’ve produced a steady stream of NBA talent since their rise under Bobby Cremins in the 1980s. While the NBA Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets are the lowest-ranked team in our tournament, they field an entertaining roster full of playmakers and shooters.

Mark Price, one of two point guards in the starting lineup, was a player who was ahead of his time. He was one of the greatest shooters in NBA history, who played with remarkable efficiency. The greatest shooting point guards of the modern era have become multiple MVPs (Steve Nash and Stephen Curry), and provide a template for how Price could be utilized in the modern-day game. He’s joined in the backcourt by Stephon Marbury. While his negatives are well-known, he peaked as a talented offensive force who is one of only five players to average over 19.0 points and 7.0 assists per game for his career (joined by Magic Johnson, Oscar Robertson, Isiah Thomas, and Russell Westbrook). While he’s an awkward fit alongside another point guard, his penetration skills should blend well with Price’s shooting. Kenny Anderson is a similarly talented point guard who will come off the bench and mirror much of what Marbury brings to the starting lineup. Anderson dominated the ball less than Marbury (with a career 21.3% usage percentage versus Marbury’s 25.4%), and will replace Marbury whenever the offense is not flowing. Jarrett Jack will play sparingly as the fourth point guard on the roster. Jon Barry, the lone pure shooting guard on the roster, provides valuable long-distance shooting with noteworthy efficiency (once finishing second in the league with a 64.5% true shooting percentage).

Matt Harpring and Dennis Scott will split time at small forward. Harpring was a solid player who moved well without the ball and had an effective mid-range game. Scott, on the other hand, was a long-range bomber who is best known for playing off of a dominant center (Shaquille O’Neal in Orlando). Both are useful role players who will contribute to their offensive attack. Derrick Favors and Thaddeus Young will share minutes at power forward. Favors is a traditional four who will help them compete on the glass while protecting the paint. Young is a smaller, quicker player who boosts their athleticism and provides a different look against bigger players.

Chris Bosh, an 11-time all-star selection, is the team’s starting center. Bosh was a mid-range master throughout his career who developed a three-point shot over time. He served as the fulcrum of Toronto’s offense before adapting as a third option in Miami, where his solid all-around game helped them win two titles in four Finals appearances. He doesn’t have the bulk of a traditional center, but his quickness is a tremendous asset on both ends of the court. He’s backed up by John Salley, a solid defender who won four titles in his career, and Matt Geiger, a fiery, athletic big man who excelled on the offensive glass.

The NBA Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets are a fun, balanced team who opponents will have difficulty defending. They can field an elite shooting lineup featuring Price, Barry, Scott, and Bosh, and should utilize their athleticism and quickness to play an up-tempo game. While they face a tall task in their first-round matchup, the success of their NBA talent should be celebrated.

All-Time Miami Heat vs. All-Time Orlando Magic

Our next Sweet Sixteen match features the two youngest franchises remaining in our tournament. The Heat acquired many of their franchise icons through free agency and trades, led by the front office mastery of Pat Riley. The Magic used the draft (and specifically, holding the number one overall pick in the draft three times) to acquire many of their stars, all of whom helped them deliver a first-round upset over the Pacers. How do the All-Time Miami Heat vs. All-Time Orlando Magic compare to each other?

Heat vs. Magic 3

Key Matchups

Miami’s athleticism vs. Orlando’s athleticism: The Heat have one of the most athletic starting wing pairings in the tournament in Dwyane Wade and LeBron James. The Magic have one of the most athletic starting backcourts in the tournament in Anfernee Hardaway and Tracy McGrady. Both have athletic big men who can protect the rim (Alonzo Mourning for the Heat, Dwight Howard and young Shaquille O’Neal for the Magic). The defensive matchups in the starting lineups will be fascinating; Tim Hardaway suffers from a huge size disadvantage, while Rashard Lewis will struggle to keep up with either of Miami’s wings. Will Miami dare put Hardaway on Lewis, so Wade and James can guard Penny Hardaway and McGrady? Who will Orlando put Lewis on?

Miami’s small-ball lineup vs. Orlando’s small-ball lineup: Miami’s jack-of-all-trades, LeBron James, will play power forward at times, and will be surrounded by shooters in this configuration (most notably Eddie Jones and Glen Rice off the bench). Stan Van Gundy had great success in Orlando surrounding a big man with four shooters around him, so expect him to utilize this tactic and stagger O’Neal and Howard’s minutes with Lewis, Hedo Turkoglu, and Dennis Scott alongside them both.

Biggest Mismatches

LeBron James vs. Orlando’s small forwards: It’s unclear how Orlando will guard James in this series. Rashard Lewis has the length to bother him, but doesn’t have bulk or elite athleticism. Tracy McGrady has the athleticism and length, so he’ll see plenty of minutes on James, but he’ll likely start each game on Dwyane Wade. Expect Nick Anderson to get many minutes alongside Hardaway and McGrady to help Orlando match up better with Miami.

Orlando’s size vs. Miami’s size (in the starting lineup): Orlando’s starting big men (Shaquille O’Neal and Dwight Howard) are far bigger and bulkier than Miami’s (Alonzo Mourning and Chris Bosh). Orlando also has the tallest backcourt in the tournament, and a 6’10” starting small forward. There’s no good defensive matchup for Tim Hardaway, who may cede a lot of minutes to Eddie Jones and Glen Rice since Miami already has two ball-dominant players in Wade and James.


In the mid-1990s, the Magic had the makings of an NBA dynasty. Shaquille O’Neal was one of the greatest prospects ever coming out of college, and Penny Hardaway made two all-NBA first-team appearances in his first three seasons in the league. However, they never fulfilled those expectations, getting swept out of the playoffs in the first round (1994), the NBA Finals (1995), and the Eastern Conference Finals (1996), before O’Neal left the team via free agency. In 2010, the Heat had the one of the greatest free agency coups in sports history, re-signing Wade and signing-and-trading for James and Bosh. In their four years together, that group became champions, making four straight NBA Finals berths and winning two championships.


These two franchises engage in a classic battle. While Orlando has the talent to defeat Miami, the Heat have the championship mettle, and James shines as the best player in the series. It’s party time in Miami.


Heat win, four games to three.

Next Round

Miami faces the All-Time Celtics.

All-Time Orlando Magic Team

All-Time Orlando Magic Team Infographic

The All-Time Orlando Magic team is impressive, considering they’ve only been around for 26 years. It helps that they’ve won three NBA draft lotteries, and drafted two future Hall-of-Fame players with those picks (Shaquille O’Neal and Dwight Howard). The other player, acquired through a draft day trade, was a four-time all-star (Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway), and was one of the great ‘what if?’ players of the previous generation. Since they’ve never won a championship, they enter our tournament as the 25th seed, but their high-end talent will provide problems for their first round opponent.

The starting backcourt is enormous, featuring 6’7” Penny Hardaway and 6’8” Tracy McGrady. It’s hard to believe there will be a taller pairing in this tournament, and both were brilliant playmakers during their Magic careers. Penny’s career was cut short by injuries, but he was so effective that he was named to the All-NBA first team in his second and third seasons in the league. T-Mac was an absolute monster, and won two scoring championships in his four years in Orlando. During his Magic tenure, there was a legitimate debate as to who was better between McGrady and Kobe Bryant, and the stats comparison between the two from 2001-2004 illustrates why:

Kobe-TMac comparison

Unfortunately, McGrady was haunted by his inability to escape the first round of the playoffs, while Bryant went to three NBA Finals during that period (winning two). Similar to Hardaway, injuries later curtailed McGrady’s career (while Bryant remained consistent and became one of the greatest players ever), but his Magic tenure cannot be characterized as anything but dominant.

The starting frontcourt is also massive, with 6’10” Rashard Lewis at small forward, 6’11” Dwight Howard at power forward, and 7’1” 325lb Shaquille O’Neal at center. Lewis will provide much needed spacing for this group, while Howard and O’Neal will dominate the glass and protect the paint on defense. Offensively, these two will have to stay out of each other’s way, and their horrendous foul shooting will be a liability down the stretch of close games. Despite these challenges, they should make a great pairing, and they have the ability to dominate most opposing front lines.

The bench is predictably weak, considering the youth of the franchise. Darrell Armstrong and Jameer Nelson are two undersized point guards who get the most out of their physical abilities. Nick Anderson and Dennis Scott will provide more spacing for O’Neal and Howard, while Hedo Turkoglu has the ability to play the 3 or the 4, and run the offense as a point forward. Bo Outlaw and Horace Grant are the backup big men; both will compete defensively and on the glass, but this team might be better served playing Turkolglu or Lewis at the 4 when O’Neal or Howard rests in order to space the floor better.

This will be a very difficult team to coach. Howard, O’Neal, and Hardaway were all known for their immaturity during their Magic tenure. O’Neal once compared Hardaway to Fredo Corleone, and he and Howard engaged in a humiliating feud over a nickname. Grant, Outlaw, Nelson, and Anderson will have to provide veteran leadership for this team to reach its full potential.

Coach: Stan Van Gundy

All-Time Franchise Winning Percentage (through 2014-15): .493