We tasked you with the impossible, but you managed to pick a single “Dream Team” of ex-Kentucky players to represent the Wildcats on the virtual hardwood against a team of North Carolina greats.
Most of your complaints were some form of this: “There are too many good players to choose from.”
And you were right. You left out big names such as Jim Andrews, Pat Riley, Cotton Nash, Patrick Patterson, Rick Robey, Mike Pratt, Mike Casey, Sam Bowie, Julius Randle … the list goes on.
Of course, there are 12 all-time great players that you did pick. Here were your UK selections:
- G John Wall
- G Kyle Macy
- G Rex Chapman
- G Tony Delk
- F Anthony Davis
- F Jamal Mashburn
- F Jack Givens
- F DeMarcus Cousins
- F Karl Anthony-Towns
- F Tayshaun Prince
- F Kenny Walker
- C Dan Issel
With Kentucky-North Carolina nearing its Saturday tipoff (5:45 p.m. ET, CBS), we’re excited for another chapter in one of the country’s most storied non-conference rivalries.
While we wait for the real game, we decided to put on a game of our own: Kentucky legends vs. North Carolina legends. Using WhatIfSports.com, a free simulation engine, we built the fan-selected Kentucky team and then used default selections to build the following UNC squad:
- G Raymond Felton
- G Ty Lawson
- G Michael Jordan
- G/F Vince Carter
- F James Worthy
- F Tyler Hansbrough
- F Jerry Stackhouse
- F George Lynch
- C Antawn Jamison
- C Sean May
- C Sam Perkins
- C Rasheed Wallace
(Note that while WhatIfSports.com has an extensive library of Kentucky players, the North Carolina roster is missing all-time greats such as Phil Ford, Charlie Scott and Billy Cunningham.)
Thanks to Internet magic, we were able to put on a 7-game series between these two teams, beginning with a showdown at Rupp Arena for Game 1.
Game 1: North Carolina 117, Kentucky 108
Box score • MVP: Vince Carter (24 points on 9-of-14 shooting, 7 rebounds and 7 assists)
Kentucky forward Jack Givens (31/12/5) didn’t get much help against a balanced Tar Heels attack. The ‘Cats had a 62-61 halftime advantage and were tied at 105 with 3:20 remaining, but UNC used a three-point play by Carter with 2:48 left to swing the game in the Heels’ favor down the stretch.
Game 2: Kentucky 116, North Carolina 110
Box score • MVP: Jack Givens (30 points on 13-of-20 shooting, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals)
The game appeared over when Michael Jordan fouled out with 28 seconds remaining, but Kentucky forward Jamal Mashburn missed a pair of free throws to open the door. Tar Heels guard Raymond Felton hit a contested 3-pointer from the corner to bring UNC within 3 points before Wildcats guard Kyle Macy finally iced the game from the charity stripe.
Game 3: North Carolina 105, Kentucky 75
Box score • MVP: Vince Carter (28 points on 10-of-16 shooting and 10 rebounds)
The series’ first game at the Dean Smith Center was over by halftime. Listless Kentucky was down 16 at the break, and fared no better in the second frame. North Carolina forward Tyler Hansbrough turned it into a rout with three consecutive second-half baskets in the span of 1 minute, 6 seconds.
Game 4: Kentucky 120, North Carolina 112
Box score • MVP: John Wall (24 points on 9-of-14 shooting and 10 assists)
North Carolina appeared ready to claim a 3-1 series lead late in the second half, but Kentucky’s Jack Givens threw down an alley-oop slam from John Wall to go ahead by 1 point with 1:22 remaining. Wildcats forward Jamal Mashburn drained an open 3-pointer from the right wing to build a bigger advantage, then frontcourt teammate DeMarcus Cousins intercepted a pass to seal the “W.”
Game 5: North Carolina 98, Kentucky 94
Box score • MVP: Michael Jordan (25 points on 10-of-16 shooting, 10 rebounds and 4 steals)
Our heavyweights met back at Rupp Arena to see which school would enter Game 6 with a chance to eliminate the other, and the affair was comparatively low-scoring. Trailing 94-91 with 56 seconds remaining, Kentucky’s Jamal Mashburn had a chance to tie from deep, but his straight-away attempt failed to fall, and guard John Wall couldn’t connect on the Wildcats’ ensuing possession, either.
Game 6: North Carolina 115, Kentucky 85
Box score • MVP: Jerry Stackhouse (14 points on 5-of-8 shooting, 5 rebounds and 3 blocks)
The Tar Heels could not miss. North Carolina had seven players in double figures (Vince Carter led with 18), shooting 65.2 percent for the game. Meanwhile, Kentucky scored only one basket during a near-5-minute drought in the second half that doomed the ‘Cats to a blowout loss.
Would you have changed Kentucky’s roster or rotation? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to check out our latest Wildcats report card before they tip off against North Carolina in real life.