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NBA 2k17 simulates the NCAA Tournament

A man, an Xbox, and one night spent looking into the future to see what NBA 2k17 can tell us.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round-Florida State vs Xavier
“Let’s go play video games!”
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Console college basketball is a thing of the past. Since the final EA March Madness game rolled off the shelf almost a decade ago and the College Hoops 2k series followed suit not long after, college basketball fans have had nowhere to go to get their video game basketball fix.

That’s not the case anymore. Thanks to 2kShare, NBA 2k17 can, with a bit of effort, be modded into a college basketball game. Taking advantage of the playoffs feature made perfect sense as the Sweet 16 fit right in. With nothing on my hands but time, all that remained was using the only basketball simulator on the market to see what will happen.

Sweet 16:

Butler 77-70 UNC (OT)

The Bulldogs get 50 bench points led by Kamar Baldwin’s 22 and squeak by UNC in overtime. No one wins when these two teams play.

Oregon 85-73 Michigan

Zak Irvin and company never refind the shooting stroke that led them past Louisville and lose after going 5-23 behind the arc.

WVU 97-89 Gonzaga

Press Virginia doesn’t force too many turnovers (nine), but they keep the pace high and pull away late. Teyvon Myers comes off the bench for a star turn with 18/5/1.

Baylor 76-63 South Carolina

The Bears dominate on the glass and hold the Gamecocks without a three pointer on their way to the win. Jo Lual-Acuil goes for 12/8/2 and knocks in two three pointers of his own in the game.

UK 95-89 UCLA

In the marquee matchup of the Sweet 16, Malik Monk scores 28 to overcome Lonzo Ball’s 12/6/7 as UK shoots 58% behind the arc on their way to the win. After knocking off Kent State and UC, UCLA can’t quite finish their divine trifecta.

Kansas 67-63 Purdue

The Boilermakers ugly it all up but still can’t overcome the Jayhawks. Caleb Swanigan is hassled into 1-9 from the floor and Purdue coughs it up 18 times while Josh Jackson goes for 15/7/6 for the victorious Jayhawks.

Wisconsin 73-71 Florida

The Gators go 9-24 behind the arc but can’t overcome Nigel Hayes 16/9/1 as the Badgers dominate in the paint and win the game. The Badgers penchant for close tournament wins in the last two years continues.

Xavier 80-74 Arizona

The magic continues for Coach Mack and the Musketeers. Tonight, it’s Quentin Goodin pouring in 20 and dishing out six assists as Xavier heads to the Elite Eight. Once again, it’s the work on the glass that gets it done, as X outrebounds the Wildcats 39-30 and scores 32 in the paint.

Elite Eight:

UK 66-57 Butler

The Wildcats get 17 from Malik Monk and shoot more than twice as many free throws than the Bulldogs on their way to a win that is never really in doubt.

Wisconsin 83-74 Baylor

An eight seed is in the Final Four as the Badgers get 24/9/0 from Ethan Happ to dispatch Baylor. Fought to a standstill on the glass, Baylor simply can’t shoot well enough to get the win.

Kansas 92-81 Oregon

Jackson scores 21, Frank Mason dishes out eight assists, and the Jayhawks pull in 16 offensive rebounds on their way to the Final Four. 15 Oregon turnovers are simply too many for the Ducks to overcome

Xavier 84-77 WVU

I don’t write the code, I just report the results. Malcom Bernard goes 3-5 behind the arc, Q commits only three turnovers (with seven assists) against the press, and Trevon fights off a bad shooting night by grabbing 11 boards to go with his 13 points. Sean O’Mara continues his tournament to remember with 8/6/0 and JP’s unabashed 3-12 from the floor at least comes with eight dimes. With perhaps the most unlikely of teams, X is on the grand stage.

Final Four:

UK 84-82 Kansas

In an instant classic, Kansas closes the game on a 16-4 run but comes up a bucket short at the end. Isaiah Briscoe scores 16 for the Cats as the entitlement in Lexington begins to grow to a level matching that coming from Duke.

Xavier 73-70 Wisconsin

Once again a lanky guard drills a game winner as the buzzer sounds, but this time it’s JP Macura. Xavier is dreadful from behind the arc all game, not making a three until JP’s winner. Trevon gets 13/5/2, Tyrique emerges from a two game funk with 13/5/1 and Xavier goes 22-25 from the line to win it. CBS exults as they get two one possession games in the Final Four. [Even in a video game that I’m literally just clicking one button for, I’m nervous to advance.]

National Championship:

UK 92-69 Xavier

When the magic ends, it ends hard. Trevon never gets going and turns the ball over five times, Malcolm goes 0-5 from the floor, and Xavier shoots just 41% as a team. JP gets 17/4/2 and Q puts up 6/2/6 with only two turnovers, but Xavier is simply out of gas. Trailing 46-28 at the half, they never really threaten to make it a game.

The dream run ends in the final, but the Musketeers have a lot to be proud of. In the Arizona game, they ignore the hype and dominate on the glass. Against WVU, the vaunted press doesn’t rattle a rapidly growing Quentin Goodin and Bob Huggins is forced to once again watch an underdog Xavier squad celebrate right in front of him. JP’s three to beat Wisconsin enters tournament lore alongside Bryce Drew, Rip Hamilton, and even Christian Laettner as one of those replays that appears every year. Only a preseason favorite still carrying a healthy roster beats Coach Mack’s overachievers at the very end.

I had an absolute blast doing this. College basketball on the console was a huge part of our college experience (often to the point of playing the entire tournament in one night) and the chance to be able to do it again has been fun. If you have NBA2k17, I highly recommend grabbing one of the college rosters out there and having at it. Having X go on a run just made the whole thing that much more entertaining.