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Old 03-06-2013, 06:49 PM   #1
fpliii
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Default SI's Top 10 GOAT NCAA Men's Tournament Players (3/6/13 issue)

The Debates Of March
CHRISTIAN STONE

MADNESS BEING THE seasonal punch, we're braced for accusations of having taken one swig too many in putting together this special, extra SPORTS ILLUSTRATED magazine that alighted in your mailboxes and on your tablets. The pillar of this single-advertiser issue is the 22-page section devoted to that favorite sports parlor game: In 75 years of NCAA men's hoops history, who's the G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All Time)? The list—compiled by SI's Bard of March, senior writer Seth Davis, with help from intern Colin Becht—is certain to provoke, even inflame. No Jordan? Bird three spots ahead of Magic? No Jack Givens? (All right, the last is personal for an eight-year-old who was introduced to the tournament on the last March Monday of 1978, when the golden Goose cooked Duke for 41 to give Kentucky its fifth national title. Loved that guy.)

SI's pantheon is ripe for debate; in fact, it exists to be parsed, even by its own. Hoops savants Alexander Wolff (who wrote the articles on Bill Bradley and Christian Laettner) and Jack McCallum (Jerry West) were in-boxed the top 10, which yielded yet another forensic examination of the possibilities. The entirety of their exchange—like Davis's list, nuanced, entertaining, expertly informed—can be found at si.com/mag along with plenty of other anniversary goodness, including Davis's full list of the 75 greatest players and videos of the top 10 NCAA tournament moments. Here is an excerpt from that e-dialogue.

MCCALLUM: [Bill Bradley] does not belong ahead of Magic or another sweet college player, who wasn't so great in the pros ... let's see ... ah, Mr. Laettner. Three Final Fours. Two championships. One Most Outstanding Player award and arguably the most famous shot in hoops history—the turnaround against Kentucky. You were there! Let's decide right now how high to put the man—and it has to be higher than ninth.

WOLFF: Glad to hear you make the case for Laettner, pain in the ass though he was. He reached four Final Fours, and is the only player to start in four of 'em. But what makes Laettner so emblematic of who we're trying to I.D. with this list is that he did the micro (the moments!) along with the macro.... If the Final Four is a stage, this guy was the hoops equivalent of the guy we both saw in London while covering Olympic events last summer—Shakespearean grandmaster Mark Rylance. I say top five at least.

Wolff and McCallum, good friends and two of the most reasonable men to have walked these halls, ultimately arrived at a consensus. I will only say that Laettner gets the call over Magic, the Dipper acquires new meaning and still no MJ. Welcome to March. Drink in the madness.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seth Davis

1 Lew Alcindor (UCLA 1966-67 to 1968-69)

Telling Numbers

201

Rebounds in 12 NCAA tournament games, the second most all time. His 304 total points rank seventh.

61

Points scored against Washington State on Feb. 25, 1967, the most in D-I that season and still a record for a Bruins player.

Quote:
Originally Posted by George Dohrmann

2 Bill Walton (UCLA 1971-72 to 1973-74)

Telling Numbers

65.1

Walton's career field goal percentage (minimum 400 made) an NCAA record when he left UCLA and now 10th best alltime.

176

Rebounds for Walton in 12 NCAA tournament games—the fifth most ever (14.7 average).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelli Anderson

3 Bill Russell (San Francisco 1953-54 to 1955-56)

Telling Numbers

5

Players in NCAA history—Russell was the first—who have averaged 20 points and 20 rebounds for their collegiate career.

20.3

Career rebounding average for Russell (1,606 in 79 games) at San Francisco, which still ranks seventh all time.


Quote:
Originally Posted by L. Jon Wertheim

4 Oscar Robertson (Cincinnati 1957-58 to 1959-60)

Telling Numbers

2,973

Career points, 300 more than the previous NCAA record. His 33.8 scoring average still ranks third alltime.

4

Unofficial triple doubles in 10 NCAA tournament games. (Assists were not kept until 1984.) He had 79 double doubles in 88 games.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Taylor

5 Larry Bird (Indiana State 1976-77 to 1978-79)

Telling Numbers

28

Double doubles, including 16 straight, in 34 games during 1978--79. Bird would finish his Sycamores career with 68.

13.3

Career rebounds per game, which is tied with Drexel's Bob Stephens for eighth best since 1973 (minimum 800).

Titans Of The NCAA Tournament

CHOOSING THE BEST PERFORMERS IN THE HISTORY OF THE BIG DANCE WAS MONUMENTALLY DIFFICULT. FROM THE BIG DIPPER TO THE BIG O, THESE 10 LOOMED LARGER THAN ALL THE REST

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelli Anderson

6 Wilt Chamberlain (Kansas 1956-57 to 1957-58)

Telling Numbers

1955

Year Chamberlain was claimed as a territorial pick by the Philadelphia Warriors, the first time a player had been chosen based on his high school career.

30.3

Points averaged in the 1957 NCAA tournament (121 in four games), the most by any player that year.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexander Wolff

7 Bill Bradley (Princeton 1962-63 to 1964-65)

Telling Numbers

177

Points in the 1965 NCAA tournament, a record at the time, as was his scoring average of 35.4.

91.6

Percentage of free throws made (87 of 95) in nine tournament games, which still ranks second in NCAA history.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Taylor

8 Magic Johnson (Michigan State 1977-78 to 1978-79)

Telling Numbers

24.1

Nielsen rating for the 1979 NCAA championship, which is still the highest for any professional or college basketball game.

19

Seasons in which Michigan State had missed the NCAA tournament before Johnson led the Spartans to the Mideast Regional final in 1978.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexander Wolff

9 Christian Laettner (Duke 1988-89 to 1991-92)

Telling Numbers

407

Points scored in the NCAA tournament, a record. Laettner also holds the marks for most games (23) and most free throws (142).

78.8

Field goal percentage during the 1989 NCAA tournament (five games), the second highest ever.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack McCallum

10 Jerry West (West Virginia 1957-58 to 1959-60)

Telling Numbers

160

Points scored in five NCAA tournament games in 1959, which tied the record held by Temple's Hal Lear ('56).

30.2

Points averaged by West in close games in 1959--60, as opposed to 22.0 in easy wins.
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Old 03-06-2013, 07:27 PM   #2
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Default Re: SI's Top 10 GOAT NCAA Men's Tournament Players (3/6/13 issue)

Id be more interested in a list of top 10 tournament performances within a given tournament.
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Old 03-13-2013, 04:57 AM   #3
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Default Re: SI's Top 10 GOAT NCAA Men's Tournament Players (3/6/13 issue)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jailblazers7
Id be more interested in a list of top 10 tournament performances within a given tournament.

What would be your top 10?
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Old 03-13-2013, 09:30 AM   #4
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Default Re: SI's Top 10 GOAT NCAA Men's Tournament Players (3/6/13 issue)

Quote:
Originally Posted by fpliii
What would be your top 10?

I don't really have one...I just think it would be a more interesting list.
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Old 08-08-2013, 12:34 AM   #5
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Default Re: SI's Top 10 GOAT NCAA Men's Tournament Players (3/6/13 issue)

The Debates Of March
CHRISTIAN STONE

MADNESS BEING THE seasonal punch, we're braced for accusations of having taken one swig too many in putting together this special, extra SPORTS ILLUSTRATED magazine that alighted in your mailboxes and on your tablets. The pillar of this single-advertiser issue is the 22-page section devoted to that favorite sports parlor game: In 75 years of NCAA men's hoops history, who's the G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All Time)? The list—compiled by SI's Bard of March, senior writer Seth Davis, with help from intern Colin Becht—is certain to provoke, even inflame. No Jordan? Bird three spots ahead of Magic? No Jack Givens? (All right, the last is personal for an eight-year-old who was introduced to the tournament on the last March Monday of 1978, when the golden Goose cooked Duke for 41 to give Kentucky its fifth national title. Loved that guy.)

SI's pantheon is ripe for debate; in fact, it exists to be parsed, even by its own. Hoops savants Alexander Wolff (who wrote the articles on Bill Bradley and Christian Laettner) and Jack McCallum (Jerry West) were in-boxed the top 10, which yielded yet another forensic examination of the possibilities. The entirety of their exchange—like Davis's list, nuanced, entertaining, expertly informed—can be found at si.com/mag along with plenty of other anniversary goodness, including Davis's full list of the 75 greatest players and videos of the top 10 NCAA tournament moments. Here is an excerpt from that e-dialogue.

MCCALLUM: [Bill Bradley] does not belong ahead of Magic or another sweet college player, who wasn't so great in the pros ... let's see ... ah, Mr. Laettner. Three Final Fours. Two championships. One Most Outstanding Player award and arguably the most famous shot in hoops history—the turnaround against Kentucky. You were there! Let's decide right now how high to put the man—and it has to be higher than ninth.

WOLFF: Glad to hear you make the case for Laettner, pain in the ass though he was. He reached four Final Fours, and is the only player to start in four of 'em. But what makes Laettner so emblematic of who we're trying to I.D. with this list is that he did the micro (the moments!) along with the macro.... If the Final Four is a stage, this guy was the hoops equivalent of the guy we both saw in London while covering Olympic events last summer—Shakespearean grandmaster Mark Rylance. I say top five at least.

Wolff and McCallum, good friends and two of the most reasonable men to have walked these halls, ultimately arrived at a consensus. I will only say that Laettner gets the call over Magic, the Dipper acquires new meaning and still no MJ. Welcome to March. Drink in the madness.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Seth Davis

1 Lew Alcindor (UCLA 1966-67 to 1968-69)

Telling Numbers

201

Rebounds in 12 NCAA tournament games, the second most all time. His 304 total points rank seventh.

61

Points scored against Washington State on Feb. 25, 1967, the most in D-I that season and still a record for a Bruins player.



Quote:
Originally Posted by George Dohrmann

2 Bill Walton (UCLA 1971-72 to 1973-74)

Telling Numbers

65.1

Walton's career field goal percentage (minimum 400 made) an NCAA record when he left UCLA and now 10th best alltime.

176

Rebounds for Walton in 12 NCAA tournament games—the fifth most ever (14.7 average).



Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelli Anderson

3 Bill Russell (San Francisco 1953-54 to 1955-56)

Telling Numbers

5

Players in NCAA history—Russell was the first—who have averaged 20 points and 20 rebounds for their collegiate career.

20.3

Career rebounding average for Russell (1,606 in 79 games) at San Francisco, which still ranks seventh all time.





Quote:
Originally Posted by L. Jon Wertheim

4 Oscar Robertson (Cincinnati 1957-58 to 1959-60)

Telling Numbers

2,973

Career points, 300 more than the previous NCAA record. His 33.8 scoring average still ranks third alltime.

4

Unofficial triple doubles in 10 NCAA tournament games. (Assists were not kept until 1984.) He had 79 double doubles in 88 games.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Taylor

5 Larry Bird (Indiana State 1976-77 to 1978-79)

Telling Numbers

28

Double doubles, including 16 straight, in 34 games during 1978--79. Bird would finish his Sycamores career with 68.

13.3

Career rebounds per game, which is tied with Drexel's Bob Stephens for eighth best since 1973 (minimum 800).


Titans Of The NCAA Tournament

CHOOSING THE BEST PERFORMERS IN THE HISTORY OF THE BIG DANCE WAS MONUMENTALLY DIFFICULT. FROM THE BIG DIPPER TO THE BIG O, THESE 10 LOOMED LARGER THAN ALL THE REST


Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelli Anderson

6 Wilt Chamberlain (Kansas 1956-57 to 1957-58)

Telling Numbers

1955

Year Chamberlain was claimed as a territorial pick by the Philadelphia Warriors, the first time a player had been chosen based on his high school career.

30.3

Points averaged in the 1957 NCAA tournament (121 in four games), the most by any player that year.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexander Wolff

7 Bill Bradley (Princeton 1962-63 to 1964-65)

Telling Numbers

177

Points in the 1965 NCAA tournament, a record at the time, as was his scoring average of 35.4.

91.6

Percentage of free throws made (87 of 95) in nine tournament games, which still ranks second in NCAA history.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Taylor

8 Magic Johnson (Michigan State 1977-78 to 1978-79)

Telling Numbers

24.1

Nielsen rating for the 1979 NCAA championship, which is still the highest for any professional or college basketball game.

19

Seasons in which Michigan State had missed the NCAA tournament before Johnson led the Spartans to the Mideast Regional final in 1978.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexander Wolff

9 Christian Laettner (Duke 1988-89 to 1991-92)

Telling Numbers

407

Points scored in the NCAA tournament, a record. Laettner also holds the marks for most games (23) and most free throws (142).

78.8

Field goal percentage during the 1989 NCAA tournament (five games), the second highest ever.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack McCallum

10 Jerry West (West Virginia 1957-58 to 1959-60)

Telling Numbers

160

Points scored in five NCAA tournament games in 1959, which tied the record held by Temple's Hal Lear ('56).

30.2

Points averaged by West in close games in 1959--60, as opposed to 22.0 in easy wins.



Excellent list.
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