What the 2010 NCAA Sweet 16 Could Look Like...

A blast from the past...

        With the Sweet 16 coming up in just a few short days and the 2010 NBA Draft right around the corner, it got us thinking what this year's NCAA Tournament could look like in a totally hypothetical (and highly unlikely) glance- adding in key players who have since left their respective school, but would still remain eligible had they not departed for the next level. In other words, these teams, at least talent-wise, are a coach's dream: No players leaving early, experience gained and talent developed.

        NBA-Draft.com lists our top 16 schools in the order of, what we believe, would be the best chances for a 2010 National Title. Players are listed by position (with players not currently on their roster in italics) and their class year (or what their class year would be) in parentheses.   

16. St. Mary's

     Starting Lineup
    G: Patrick Mills (Jr.)
    G: Mickey McConnell (Jr.)
    G: Matthew Dellavedova (Fr.)
    F: Ben Allen (Sr.)
    C: Omar Samhan (Sr.)

         Notes: Mills (2nd Round, 2009) joins the talented backcourt of McConnell and Dellavedova, who could be one of the scariest trios to face in transition with Mills leading the way. Add to the mix a very good mid-range shooter (Ben Allen) and a player who has dominated the first 2-round of the 2010 NCAA Tournament (Omar Samhan) and this St. Mary's team could be a daunting task to stop.

15. Florida

     Starting Lineup
    G: Nick Calathes (Jr.)
    G: Kenny Boynton (Fr.)
    F: Chandler Parsons (Jr.)
    F: Alex Tyus (Jr.)
    F: Marreese Speights (Sr.)

         Notes: Nick Calathes (2nd Round, 2009) and Marreese Speights (No. 16 overall, 2008) return to Gainsville, adding some much needed leadership that helped the Gators win back-to-back titles in 2006 and '07. Calathes, an all-around player, teams up with an uber-athletic frontcourt and a backcourt full of shooters. An inside-outside combination of Speights and Tyus could be one of the most underrated in the nation.

14. UCLA

    Starting Lineup
    G: Russell Westbrook (Sr.)
    G: Jrue Holiday (So.)
    G: Malcolm Lee (So.)
    F: Nikola Dragovic (Sr.)
    F: Kevin Love (Jr.)

         Notes: Westbrook (No. 4 overall, 2008) is on his way to becoming an NBA star, while Holiday (No. 17 overall, 2009) has shown glimpses of his potential this season, add in Love (No. 5 overall, 2008) and you have a solid, experienced starting five under Coach Ben Howland. Westbrook and Holiday join Lee in a long, athletic backcourt, capable of stopping any offensive threat, while Love is a very capable defender and dominant rebounder.

13. Arizona

     Starting Lineup
    G: Nic Wise (Sr.)
    G: Jerryd Bayless (Jr.)
    G: Chase Budinger (Sr.)
    F: Derrick Williams (Fr.)
    F: Jordan Hill (Sr.)

     Notes: Bayless (No. 11 overall, 2008) and Budinger (2nd Round, 2009) give the Wildcats tremendous perimeter threats, while Hill (No. 8 overall, 2009) shores up a previously-weak front court. Bayless, Budinger and Hill all add upperclassman leadership to a young team that competed in the Pac-10 this season. As one of the most athletic teams in the nation, we could expect Arizona to put up some ridiculous offensive numbers en route to a Sweet 16 berth.

12. Pittsburgh

     Starting Lineup
    G: Brad Wanamaker (Jr.)
    G: Ashton Gibbs (So.)
    G: Jermaine Dixon (Sr.)
    G: Gilbert Brown (Jr.)
    F: DeJuan Blair (Jr.)

        Notes: With Blair (2nd Round, 2009) returning to the Panthers front court, Pitt gets back the nation's best rebounder, as well as a well-oiled post player. Blair would complement the 4-guard attack, both on the boards and as the go-to offensive player down low they have lacked all season long.

11. Wake Forest

     Starting Lineup
    G: Jeff Teague (Jr.)
    G: Ish Smith (Sr.)
    G: L.D. Williams (Sr.)
    F: Al-Farouq Aminu (So.)
    F: James Johnson (Sr.)

         Notes: Wake Forest gets two of the best players in the nation back as Teague (No. 19 overall, 2009) and Johnson (No. 16 overall, 2009) were both early 1st Round picks. They were a talented duo, especially shooting from the perimeter, but join a versatile Demon Deacons team. The lack of a true big man hurts the Deacs in the long run, but outside shooting and creating matchup problems is the key to this team.

10. Memphis

     Starting Lineup
    G: Derrick Rose (Jr.)
    G: Tyreke Evans (So.)
    G: Elliot Williams (So.)
    F: Wesley Witherspoon (Jr.)
   F: Shawn Taggart (Sr.)

         Notes: The tandem of Rose (No. 1 overall, 2008) and Evans (No. 4 overall, 2009) creates the biggest playmaking backcourt in recent memory. Both have the speed, skill and size to get anywhere on the court at any time. Shawn Taggart (Undrafted) was never a star, but a solid role player who is an upgrade to this year's Tigers team.

9. Georgia Tech

     Starting Lineup
    G: Javaris Crittenton (Sr.)
    G: Iman Shumpert (So.)
   F: Thaddeus Young (Sr.)
    F: Derrick Favors (Fr.)
    F: Gani Lawal (Jr.)

         Notes: Young (No. 12 overall, 2007) and Crittenton (No. 19 overall, 2007) add even more length to one of the biggest teams in the nation. As it would stand, the Yellow Jackets would feature two 6'5" guards, and three front court players above 6'8". Crittenton is extremely important in the mix here as a distributor who can get the ball to Shumpert and Young on the wings or dump the ball down low to Favors and Lawal. Georgia Tech was limited this season without a true point guard.

8. North Carolina

     Starting Lineup
    G: Ty Lawson (Sr.)
    G: Wayne Ellington (Sr.)
    F: Brandon Wright (Sr.)
    F: Ed Davis (So.)
    F: Deon Thompson (Sr.)

         Notes: Lawson (No. 18 overall, 2009) and Ellington (No. 28 overall, 2009) replace this year's inexperienced group of guards for the Tar Heels and give UNC outstanding leadership and perimeter play. Brandon Wright (No. 8 overall, 2007) adds more length to the front court, but more importantly serves as a lockdown defender. Pending injuries, this team could make a push to the Elite 8 and Final 4.

7. Duke

     Starting Lineup
    G: Nolan Smith (Jr.)
    G: Jon Scheyer (Sr.)
    G: Gerald Henderson (Sr.)
    F: Kyle Singler (Jr.)
    C: Brian Zoubek (Sr.)

         Notes: Henderson (No. 12 overall, 2009) comes back to Duram as a part of Duke's 4-man offense (Smith, Scheyer and Singler). All four can hit from the perimeter, but Henderson complements the trio well with his slashing abilities and lockdown defense. His senior leadership is valued by Coach K for a deep March run.

6. Kansas

     Starting Lineup
    G: Sherron Collins (Sr.)
    G: Tyshawn Taylor (So.)
    G: Xavier Henry (Fr.)
    F: Darrell Arthur (Sr.)
    C: Cole Aldrich (Jr.)

         Notes: Kansas was one of the most talented teams in the nation in 2009-10, however, getting upset in the second-round has the Jayhawks sitting at #5. Darrell Arthur (No. 27 overall, 2008) adds depth to Kansas' already talented frontcourt, with Marcus and Markieff Morris and Thomas Robinson backing him up. Arthur and Aldrich complemented each other well for years so he could be the spark for this year's team.

5. Kansas State

     Starting Lineup
    G: Denis Clemente (Sr.)
    G: Jacob Pullen (Jr.)
    F: Bill Walker (Jr.)
    F: Michael Beasley (Jr.)
    F: Curtis Kelly (Jr.)

         Notes: Kansas State adds tremendous talent in their frontcourt with Walker (2nd Round, 2008) and Beasley (No. 2 overall, 2008); Beasley is one of the most dominating players ever to take the stage in college basketball. Beasley and Walker would fit right in in Kansas State's up-tempo offense with Clemente and Pullen spearheading the attack.

3. Texas

     Starting Lineup
    G: D.J. Augustin (Sr.)
    G: Avery Bradley (Fr.)
   F: Kevin Durant (Sr.)
    F: Damion James (Sr.)
    C: Dexter Pittman (Sr.)

         Notes: Augustin (No. 9 overall, 2007) and Durant (No. 2 overall) are two of the best players in Longhorn history and the duo would fill two of the weak spots for Texas- point guard (where the UT has struggled with injuries and sub-par play all year long) and forward (where Durant is an upgrade over anyone, especially Gary Johnson). Both players bring star power, leadership and perimeter shooting. This team could be tough to beat.

3. Ohio State

     Starting Lineup
    G: Mike Conley, Jr. (Sr.)
    G: Willie Buford (So.)
    G: Daequan Cook (Sr.)
    F: Evan Turner (Jr.)
    C: Greg Oden (Sr.)

         Notes: No team has been hit the harder over the past three years in terms of talent leaving early for the Draft than Ohio State. The Buckeyes have lost five 1st Round picks over this time period. This hypothetical Buckeyes team would be extremely difficult to beat based on their star power in Evan Turner and Oden (No. 1 overall, 2007), perimeter shooting with Buford and Cook (No. 21 overall, 2007) and an exceptional point guard in Conley (No. 4 overall, 2007). This team can bring in talent like Kosta Koufos (No. 23 overall, 2008) and B.J. Mullens (No. 24 overall, 2009) off the bench.

2. Syracuse

     Starting Lineup
   G: Jonny Flynn (Jr.)
    G: Andy Rautins (Sr.)
    F: Wes Johnson (Jr.)
    F: Donte Greene (Jr.)
    F: Arinze Onuaku (Sr.)

         Notes: Syracuse gets even better with Flynn (No. 6 overall, 2009), one of the better guards and leaders over the past several years and Greene (No. 28 overall, 2008), a wing who is still developing at the next level. These two add tremendous athleticism to the Orange's 2-3 zone and offensive prowess to a team that is already one of the most efficient in the country. In transition, this team could be the best in the nation.

1. Kentucky

     Starting Lineup
    G: John Wall (Fr.)
    G: Eric Bledsoe (Fr.)
    G: Jodie Meeks (Sr.)
    F: Patrick Patterson (Jr.)
    F: DeMarcus Cousins (Fr.)

         Notes: Kentucky's biggest weakness throughout the season has been the lack of a true outside shooter. Enter Meeks (2nd Round, 2009), who is an explosive scorer, but could complement the backcourt of Wall and Bledsoe quite well. He could serve as a knockdown shooter and prevent teams from doubling Patterson and Cousins in the post.

Fell Just Short: Baylor (Tweety Carter, LaceDarius Dunn, Quincy Acy, Ekpe Udoh, Josh Lomers), Connecticut (Kemba Walker, Jerome Dyson, Stanley Robinson, Gavin Edwards, Hasheem Thabeet), Georgetown (Chris Wright, Austin Freeman, Jason Clark, DaJuan Summers, Greg Monroe), Gonzaga (Matt Bouldin, Steven Gray, Austin Daye, Elias Harris, Robert Sacre), Michigan State (Kalin Lucas, Durrell Summers, Raymar Morgan, Draymond Green, Delvon Roe), Purdue (E'Twaun Moore, Chris Kramer, Keaton Grant, Robbie Hummel, JaJuan Johnson),Tennessee (Bobby Maze, Scotty Hopson, Tyler Smith, J.P. Prince, Wayne Chism), Washington (Isaiah Thomas, Vernoy Overton, Quincy Pondexter, Matthew Bryan-Amaning, Spencer Hawes), West Virgina (Darryl Bryant, Da'Sean Butler, Devin Ebanks, Kevin Jones, Wellington Smith), Xavier (Jordan Crawford, Terrell Holloway, Derrick Brown, Jamel McLean, Jason Love)