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 New York Knicks vs. All-Time Cleveland Cavaliers

Our next match up features two teams who have suffered a lot of pain in their respective histories. One franchise has not won a championship since 1973, while the other is still waiting for their first ring. They’re united in their hatred of this man, who caused both franchises much misery during his reign of dominance. They’ve both been around long enough, however, to field competitive all-time franchise teams, each of whom can advance in our tournament. Who would win the battle between the All-Time New York Knicks vs. All-Time Cleveland Cavaliers? Each team holds several key advantages.

New York’s Advantages

Depth: The Knicks have been around for 24 more years than the Cavaliers, and this difference is reflected in their respective benches. Every Knicks bench player was a multiple-time all-star with the team (other than Walt Bellamy, who’s a Hall-of-Famer), while the Cavs only have two players off the bench with these credentials (Terrell Brandon and Zydrunas Ilgauskas – neither of whom is a future Hall-of-Fame player). The Cavs’ starters will play heavier minutes than their counterparts, and may wear down over the course of the series.

Rebounding: New York features six players who averaged a double-double in scoring and rebounding on their team, while the Cavs don’t feature any. While part of this is due to generational differences (see below), the Knicks should maintain an advantage in this area.

New York’s Question Marks

Two-Center Lineup: How will Willis Reed and Patrick Ewing co-exist alongside one another? Both are natural centers, even though each has experience in a twin towers lineup (Reed with Walt Bellamy, and Ewing with Bill Cartwright). Expect Dave DeBusschere and Harry Gallatin to get plenty of minutes alongside each starter, with Willie Naulls occasionally mixed in as well.

Cleveland’s Advantages

James-Price Two-Man Action: What a perfect pairing. LeBron James is the one of the great playmakers ever, and Mark Price is one of the great shooters ever. In addition, Kyrie Irving, Terrell Brandon, and World B. Free are all capable shooters who should play well off of LeBron.

Multiple Points of Attack: Cleveland has multiple ways they can attack an opponent and initiate their offensive sets. They have three players in their starting lineup who can play point guard (Price, Irving, and James), and a great passing center in Brad Daugherty. Expect this offense to thrive, especially when the starting unit is on the floor.

Cleveland’s Question Marks

Depth: How many minutes can James play while guarding one of New York’s multiple perimeter threats? LeBron has averaged 39.9 minutes per game for his Cavaliers career, but that type of workload isn’t ideal when guarding Bernard King and Carmelo Anthony.

High Usage Scorers: James, Irving, and Free are all high usage players who are accustomed to having the ball in their hands. Each will have to adjust to not having the ball every possession, and Coach Lenny Wilkens will have to design an offense that emphasizes ball movement over one-on-one play.


When adjusting for era, will the Knicks maintain their statistical advantage on the glass? Rebounding percentage is not available in the database prior to the 1970-71 season, so it’s difficult to compare the raw totals of several of the Knicks’ pioneering big men to their modern-day counterparts. However, in the latter stages of Reed’s career, he still held an edge in this category over Larry Nance’s career total, as Ewing did over Daugherty. DeBusschere’s mark from 1971 on eclipses the total of Nance and Hot Rod Williams. While Naulls and Gallatin are difficult to contextualize, the Knicks should still maintain their advantage on the glass, even without major contributions from these two.


In the words of sports writer Bill Simmons, “God hates Cleveland.” The Knicks have a deeper, more physical roster, and wear the Cavs down over the course of the series. Walt Frazier, the Knicks’ Mr. Clutch, wreaks havoc on the Cavs’ talented backcourt, and leads the team to victory.


New York wins, four games to two.

Next Round

New York faces the All-Time 76ers team.

All-Time Cleveland Cavaliers Team

All-Time Cleveland Cavaliers Team Infographic

Our next franchise has struggled for much of their history. They only made the playoffs four times in their first 17 seasons, and have somehow earned the number one overall pick in the NBA draft six times. While many of those picks have been more solid than spectacular (and in one case, completely disastrous), they were able to acquire one franchise-changing talent who seemed destined to take them to the Promised Land. This Chosen One has taken them to two NBA Finals appearances, but, unfortunately, had his greatest success with another franchise. Now that he’s back, they may finally be on the verge of winning their first ring. Does the All-Time Cleveland Cavaliers team have enough talent around him to advance in our tournament?

Mark Price is the second greatest player in franchise history, and was the leader of the team during their first great run in the late 1980s to early 1990s. One of the greatest shooters that has ever played in the NBA, he’s currently second in NBA history in free-throw percentage. He’s paired in the backcourt with another primary ballhandler, Kyrie Irving. Even though he’s just starting his career, Irving is one of the most skilled players in today’s game, and is another excellent shooter who can stretch the floor. They’re backed up by Terrell Brandon, who Sports Illustrated once touted as the best point guard in the league. Brandon became a star as the team played at a mind-numbingly slow pace (last in the league in both of his all-star seasons), and peaked in the 1996 season, when he was sixth in the league in PER and third in win shares per 48 minutes. World B. Free is one of the unique characters in league history, but he was also a great scorer who some credit with saving professional basketball in Cleveland. Austin Carr was the first number one overall pick in franchise history, and was a solid scorer who’ll also get minutes at shooting guard.

LeBron James, the aforementioned Chosen One, is the starting small forward, and the centerpiece of this team. James is the only MVP in franchise history, and has led the team to its only two NBA Finals appearances. He’s joined in the frontcourt by Larry Nance, who was an excellent all-around player who will serve as the team’s best rim-protector (similar to his role on the All-Time Suns team). They’re backed up by two solid scorers, Mike Mitchell and Campy Russell, along with another premier rim-protector, Hot Rod Williams.

Brad Daugherty was an overlooked player during a golden age for NBA centers, but he was a five-time all-star who became an excellent scoring threat as his career progressed. In 1993, he led the league in true shooting percentage, and he doubled as an excellent passing big man, averaging nearly four assists per game over the course of his career. He’s backed up by 7’3” Zydrunas Ilgauskas, a two-time all-star who was an offensive threat from both inside and out.

This team has one transcendent star, surrounded by a group of all-star level performers. They should be an excellent passing team, that will be better on the offensive end of the court. The 23rd seeded team in our tournament, they have a first-round match against the All-Time New York Knicks team.

Coach: Lenny Wilkens

All-Time Franchise Winning Percentage (through 2014-15): .459