You want Brute Force on your all-time starting five. You NEED Brute Force on your all-time starting five. (Photo via MarquetteImages.com.)
For the last few days, ESPN's College Basketball Nation Blog has been running its "50 in 50" series, in which ESPN's college basketball writers -- all 7000 of them -- attempt to rank the 50 best men's programs based on the last fifty years. The rankings are based on a scoring system that assigns points based on things like the number of conference titles the program has won, the number of All-Americans it's produced in the last 50 years, the program's success in the NCAA Tournament, and so on. After crunching all those numbers, Marquette ended up at No. 17 on ESPN's list.*
* One serious quibble before we get to the nonsense: ESPN is including a 50 in 50 starting five for every team. Marquette's starting five, for the most part, makes sense, save for George Thompson being relegated to the bench in favor of Mo Lucas. I'm told this is because ESPN considers Brute Force a guard, which makes it hard for him to get the nod over Dwyane Wade and Butch Lee. This is, in a word, dumb. If you're going to make an all-time starting five list for Marquette, George Thompson has to be on it. I don't care if you just list him as "player" without a position (and actually, that's probably the most appropriate way to do it), but he can't be left off. I feel very strongly about this.
The series is kind of an interesting idea, I guess, and, if nothing else, it's a way to pass the time during the interminable offseason, but ESPN's criteria are too random and weighted too arbitrarily. After exhaustive research, one email, and two Gchat sessions, we've arrived at what we think is a much more appropriate list.
With impressively little ado:
National Championship in iconic coach's final season: +1000 points
Play written about iconic coach by Dick Enberg: +500 points
Use of navy and gold and maybe sometimes that neat baby blue color in uniforms: +100 points
Names on back of jerseys: +20 points
Made NCAA Tournament between 1949 and 1992: +200 points
Never employed Bo Ryan on coaching staff: +100 points
Never employed Dick Bennett on coaching staff: +50 points
Former player and current NBA star dating Gabrielle Union: +25 points
NBA Championship won by former player(s) in 2012: +20 points
Head coach not acting like a cackling butthead on Mike & Mike earlier this year: +40 points
Averaged more than 70ppg in any of the last four seasons: +20 points
Conference player of the year in 2011-'12: +10 points
Wins in the Metrodome in 2003: +20 points per win
Have played or will play a game on a boat (note: does not include German U-boat): +10 points
Beat Syracuse in the last two years: +5 points
We're still working out the final numbers for the rankings, but at this point we can confidently project the following:
The Marquette Golden Eagles will be ranked first, with approximately 34,800 points.
The Wisconsin Badgers will be ranked 345th, with approximately zero (0) points.