TBT Dream Teams - Wisconsin vs. Xavier

 

By: Josh Brown | @josh_brown31


Who do you have winning this Midwest showdown?

The Big Ten takes on the Big East when Wisconsin and Xavier go at it on Tuesday night. While it promises to be an exciting affair, why stop the fun in November? With dozens of alumni playing around the world, both programs have more than enough firepower to put together a formidable TBT team. 

Wisconsin Alumni

There may not be a college basketball program in the country more prepared to make a deep TBT run than the Wisconsin Badgers. Over the last six years alone, the Badgers reached two Final Fours, beat undefeated Kentucky in 2015 to reach the NCAA Championship Game, and made another two Sweet Sixteen appearances. Talk about a model of consistency. The no-brainer choice to coach the team is Charlotte Hornets forward Frank Kaminsky.  In addition to having his No. 44 jersey hanging in the Kohl Center rafters, Kaminsky was the 2015 Big Ten Player of the Year and Consensus National College Player of the Year. His backcourt features two guys with a combined eight NCAA Tournament appearances. In a tournament where one mistake can be the difference between $2 million and going home empty-handed, there's nobody you would rather have run the point than Jordan Taylor. He ended his college career with an NCAA record 3.01 assist-to-turnover ratio. Taylor is joined in the backcourt by 37-year old Kirk Penney, who was a two-time First-team All-Big Ten honoree with the Badgers. While Penney's college career was nothing short of spectacular, his professional career was somehow even more impressive. The New Zealand native is recognized as one of the best players in NBL history after leading the league in scoring in 2008, 2009, and 2011.

As if this squad is not already scary enough, just wait until you get a whiff of the backcourt. No Wisconsin Alumni Team is complete without Alando Tucker, whose 2,217 career points is the most in program history. While it would be impossible to list all of his accomplishments, one in particular stands out. In 2002, Tucker broke Michael Finley's school record for vertical leap as a freshman by jumping an insane 38 inches. Something tells us that athleticism would fare well in TBT. Joining Tucker at the other forward is Nigel Hayes. In addition to becoming quite possibly the most well-liked player in Wisconsin history due to his gritty style of play, Hayes shined on the 2014 and 2015 Final Four teams and was a First-team All-Big Ten selection in 2016. After bouncing around the NBA last season, Hayes is balling in Turkey this year. Rounding out the starting five is NBA cult legend Greg Stiemsma. Although he had an up-and-down college career, Stiemsma appeared in 203 games between the Celtics, Timberwolves, Pelicans, and Raptors from 2011-2015. 

 

Xavier vs Wisconsin Piece 1

 

Xavier Alumni

There have been rumblings about an Xavier Alumni Team for years. What better time to make it happen than now? A prime candidate to lead the charge is the voice of the Musketeers, Byron Larkin. In his four years at Xavier, Larkin scored the most points in school history (2,696), was twice named MCC Player of the Year, and ultimately became the first player in program history to have his jersey number retired. Running the point is Dee Davis, who racked up 492 career assists from 2011-2015. His season total of 221 assists in 2015 ranks second in XU history. At the other guard is Cincinnati native Semaj Christon. Although he played just two seasons at Xavier before entering the NBA Draft in 2014, he led the team in scoring and steals both years and finished with an impressive 1,034 points. Christon played in 64 games for the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2016-2017 season and is currently hooping for Hapoel Be'er Sheva in Israel.

While it's not the be-all and end-all, over the years it has become evident that a bit of TBT experience can go a long way. This team would have exactly that in Jalen Reynolds. The 6-foot-10 forward suited up for Armored Athlete in TBT 2017, and threw down one of the most electric dunks in tournament history against The Pearl 31's. In the team's run to the Northeast Regional Championship Game, Reynolds averaged 12.8 ppg and 6.5 rpg. At the other forward is a man who needs no introduction. After ending his NBA career with two consecutive titles as a member of the Warriors, there's nobody better to provide some veteran leadership than David West. While his NBA accolades speak for itself, don't forget just how good West was in college. The 2003 grad was the AP National Player of the Year his senior season, a three-time Atlantic 10 Player of the Year, and was even named to Sports Illustrated's NCAA All-Decade Team in 2007. As you might expect, his No. 30 is hanging in the Cintas Center rafters. Fan favorite Matt Stainbrook gets the nod at center. Although he started his college career at Western Michigan, Stainbrook transferred to Xavier in 2013 and made an immediate impact. He was awarded Second-team All-Big East honors his senior season after averaging just under 12 points and 7 rebounds per game.

Xavier vs Wisconsin Piece 2

 

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