Recently there’s been talk about a hypothetical contest between the 2013 team and 2015 team. Both teams made the NCAA tournament. Both teams finished with roughly the same record and roughly the same RPI. Which team is better statistically? Which team would win if they played each other? Luckily, I have ended this squabble through scientific methods, which should end the debate once and for all.
The 2013 team finished with the highest regular-season RPI in team history, but the 2015 team beat it two years later with a 50 RPI. The 2015 team was the most dominant defensive team in Valpo history. Opponents only scored 59.3 points per game (18th in the country). The 2013 team was great offensively, and finished with the 6th best FG% in the country at 48%. Obviously 2015 team = defense, 2013 team = offense.
Luckily, we have a scientific way of measuring which team would win if they played each other. NBA2K. I have re-created both squads as 100% accurate representations of both teams. The 2015 players excel in defense with outstanding play by E Victory Nickerson and play a slow-paced efficient offensive game headlined by Alex Peters. The 2013 players excel in 3-point shooting headlined by Ryan Broekhoff and Will Bogan, and have a great inside game with Van Wijk. While the 2013 team has a better starting 5, the 2015 team has more depth and a more physical team.
Creating the teams
Signature skills are given to each player. Details down to the tattoos are arranged on both teams. The 2013 team will wear grey jerseys (they framed these on senior night after only wearing them twice in 2011) and the 2015 team will wear gold.
The game is measured in 4 quarters (a foreign concept, I know) instead of two halves. There are a couple of other quirks where the NBA2K game may differ from a typical college game (minor things like a 24 second shot clock). The computer will simulate everything, from lineups to substitutions.
The teams ended up fairly similar. The stats on the 2013 team ended up being better than the 2015 team, but the 2015 team had better depth. Lets play.
Scoring is low early on. The 2015 team jumps out to a 5-0 lead, but the 2013 team keeps it close and eventually ties it at 9-9 when coach Bryce Drew wastes an early timeout (like I said, this is super scientific).
Scoring picks up. The 2015 team takes the lead at 14-12 before the 2013 team answers with a Will Bogan three. A nice shot by Peters and a Keith Carter steal brings the 2015 team within 1 holding for the final shot, but a Walker 3-pointer is off target, giving the 2013 team a one point lead heading into the 2nd.
The 2013 team jumps out to a 3-point lead after an early bucket by Van Wijk, but can’t do much defensively after a Vashil records a block. The great defensive effort pays off and Tevonn makes his first basket of the game (a three) to tie the game. Peters is the bright spot for the 2015 team, making his first 4 shots (very efficient). Tevonn starts to heat up and hits a fade-away to give his team the lead at 24-22, which causes Bryce to call another timeout. The timeout is well-served as he drew up the perfect play for Broekhoff, who drains a 3-pointer… which forces Bryce to call a timeout. The 2015 team scores a quick 6 points and has their largest lead of the game at 29-25. The 2015 team never gets behind and takes a 31-29 lead into half. The leading scorer for the 2013 team is Broekhoff, who has 8 points, but is only 3-11. Peters leads the 2015 team with 10 points on 5-6 shooting.
Bryce must have really fired up the Crusaders at half time – the 2013 team ties it with a scrappy inside layup by Van Wijk, and then takes a 34-31 lead after a Bogan three. Skara quickly answers with a three of his own to tie the game. The 2013 team goes on a quick run and takes a 4 point lead at 40-36. They would extend the lead to 43-38 with a Kenny three pointer, who scores his first basket of the game. The 2013 team keeps pouring it on and has the largest lead of the game at 47-40. Kenny has a chance to give his team a 10 point lead, but misses a wide-open look. The 2015 team just can’t find a basket and a Kevin Van Wijk layup makes it 49-40. Dopes the 2015 team have a comeback in them? With time winding down in the 3rd Broekhoff hits a couple of free throws and Darien Walker puts in a layup after a Carter assist to cut the lead to 44-49 going into the 4th.
Early in the 4th, Skara dunks in transition to make it a 3 point game. Broekhoff ends the 6-0 run with a pair of free throws. The 2015 keeps the pressure on and brings the score to 49-51 following a Tevonn three-pointer. Capobianco stops the bleeding and hits a fadeaway to put the 2013 team back up by 3, but Tevonn catches fire and hits another three pointer. With 8:12 to go in the 4th, Nickerson scores his first points and gives the 2015 team a lead with a circus shot on an and-1. The lead would not last long; Breokhoff drills a three pointer to give the 2013 team the lead again. The teams trade baskets as Vashil shows off his improved inside game, as 2013 Vashil gazes from the bench. A costly 2013 team turnover after a 2015 team miss gives Skara an easy layup, putting them up three. A Bogan jumper makes it 59-58, but the 2015 team scores right back on a sensational put-back dunk by Tevonn Walker.
With time winding down in the 4th, the 2015 team remains ahead. The 2013 team turns the ball over on an ill-advised Broekhoff cross-court pass, and can’t tie the game on an open Bogan 3-point attempt. With 4:07 left, Skara extends the lead to 62-58 after splitting a pair of free throws. Skara increases the lead to 7 after his second three pointer of the game. With 3:30 left, Broekhoff receives an alley-oop to cut the lead to 5, but Vashil answers down low to make it 67-60 with 2:21 left. Broekhoff keeps the game interesting with a contested three pointer to bring them within 5. A Broekhoff reach-in puts Skara to the line with 1:53 left, and he calmly hits both free throws. The 2013 team goes cold from three and a Keith Carter lay-up puts the 2015 team up by 8 with only 1:22 left. Only 6 seconds later, Bogan hits a deep 3 to bring it back to within 5. The 2015 team plays clock-management and Alec Peters air-balls a three with the shot clock expiring. With 1:00 left, the 2015 leads 71-66. Again, the 2013 team is able to score a quick lead when Kenny is left open in the corner. The lead is down to 2.
Pandemonium happens in the next few seconds. Carter tries to catch the 2013 team napping and launches a deep pass to Peters. Peters catches the pass cleanly, but instead of driving to the basket, he panics and kicks back out to Skara at the perimeter… but Skara isn’t quite there yet. The refs call over-and-back, giving the 2013 team the chance at a two-for-one.
The 2015 would stiffen up their defense and Buggs is forced to take a deep three with the shot clock winding down, which of course, he misses. The 2013 would quickly foul Tevonn after he secures the rebound. Walker splits his trip to the line and the 2013 has a chance to tie it with 22 seconds left. Does Bryce go for the foul?
Bryce, learning his lesson from the Maryland game decides to play it safe and go for a quick two; Bogan is given an easy layup to make it 72-71 with 0:17 left. They quickly foul Carter on the imbound.
The pressure is too much for Carter as he misses his first free-throw, but he’s able to keep it a 2-point game with 0:16 left.
With time winding down, the Crusaders run a long-developing play for Broekhoff, but the play is blown up by a double-team on Buggs. Buggs kicks the ball to Capobianco along the perimeter, but Bobby stalls and dishes it back to Broekhoff near midcourt. With only a few seconds left, Broekhoff dribbles twice and heaves a desperation three…
Not this time. The player of the game is announced as Alec Peters, which is a good selection. He finished with 15 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists, a seal, a block, and only 1 turnover. He never made a three pointer, but was an efficient 6-10 from the field and converted 3-4 free throws. Skara had a team high 17 points, Carter added 16, and Walker had 14. For the 2013 team, Ryan Broekhoff had a game high 21 points and recorded 8 rebounds and 3 assists, but only converted 4 of 14 three point attempts. Buggs finished with 8 points and a game-high 14 assists, but also recorded 4 turnovers. Van Wijk picked up a double-double with 13 points (on 6-12 shooting) and 11 rebounds. Coleman and Dority recorded DNPs for the 2013 team, while Nick Davidson did not enter for the 2015 team. Max Joseph, David Chadwick, Ben Boggs, and 2013 Vashil played limited minutes.
So the science is settled. The 2015 team is indeed better than the 2013 team.