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 Brooklyn Nets Team

All-Time Brooklyn Nets Team Infographic

The All-Time Brooklyn Nets team is…lacking. It’s lacking the clear-cut greatest player in franchise history, Julius Erving, because he only played three seasons with the franchise (sorry Nets fans, but these are the rules of our tournament). It’s also lacking other greats such as Rick Barry and Drazen Petrovic, due to the same longevity issue. What we’re left with is an underwhelming group that reflects the team’s standing as an NBA also-ran and fails to adequately commemorate their two ABA championships. Even though those championships make them our 11th seeded team, their lack of high-end talent makes them susceptible to an early-round exit.

Since Erving is ineligible, the great Jason Kidd is the team’s best player, and is one of only three players to be a member of three of our all-time franchise teams (along with Wilt Chamberlain and Shaquille O’Neal). Kidd led the Nets through an historically weak Eastern Conference and to back-to-back NBA Finals appearances in 2002 and 2003. He’s joined in the starting backcourt by Vince Carter, an elite scorer in his time with the franchise, who represented them on three all-star teams. While the Carter-Kidd backcourt failed to put the team over the top from 2005 to 2008, they had complementary skill sets, and were lethal in the open court. They’re backed up by another three-time all-star, Bill Melchionni, who twice led the ABA in assists and was a contributor to the two championship teams in 1974 and 1976. Kenny Anderson, the talented New York product who never lived up to the enormous expectations placed on him, will serve as the third point guard. Otis Birdsong, a one-time all-star with the Nets, will back up Carter along with Kerry Kittles, a solid all-around player who ranks in the top ten in team history in field goals, three pointers, total points, and steals.

While Richard Jefferson, the starting small forward, was not Erving or Barry, he was a dynamic wing who played well off of Kidd. He became a competent three point shooter in his latter years with the franchise, and provided elite athleticism for his size. Buck Williams is the greatest big man in franchise history, and is the all-time Nets leader in games, minutes, field goals, free throws, rebounds (total, offensive, and defensive), rebounds per game, total points, and win shares. They’re backed up Kenyon Martin, a plus two-way player, who provided toughness and athleticism from the power forward position. Although he’s infamous for his 3-for-23 shooting performance in game six of the 2003 NBA Finals, Martin’s offensive game was well-suited for a complementary role, which he should be able to assume as an off-the-bench contributor for this team.

Although he was a natural power forward, Derrick Coleman will serve as the team’s starting center. Coleman was one of the most talented big men of the 1990s, who, unfortunately, developed a horrible reputation during his time with the franchise. Like Anderson, he didn’t live up to the enormous expectations placed upon him, but he was a two-time all-NBA selection who averaged a double-double in his Nets career. Off the bench, Billy Paultz was an elite ABA big man who was an excellent shooter for his size. Brook Lopez, the team’s current center, will also get minutes as a dangerous scoring threat who can use his elite size (7’0” 275 lb) to protect the rim.

This team consists of many solid pieces, but does not have the mix of hall-of-fame legends that many of their competitors in our tournament boast. They have an intriguing first-round match up with the Los Angeles Clippers, another also-ran who has only recently developed into a competitive franchise.

Coach: Kevin Loughery

All-Time Franchise Winning Percentage (through 2014-15): .440