Single page view By David Schoenfield
Page 2

In an alternate universe, Emeka Okafor and Ben Gordon returned to Connecticut for their senior years.

In an alternate universe, Carmelo Anthony is a junior All-American at Syracuse.

In an alternate universe, Amare Stoudemire and Dajuan Wagner are a lethal one-two scoring punch for Memphis.

In an alternate universe, Luol Deng is still at Duke and he's been joined by freshmen Dwight Howard and Shaun Livingston.

In an alternate universe, the NBA has an age restriction and all high school phenoms go to college – and stay for four years.

In an alternate universe, this is what happens ...

No. 1 seed Syracuse vs. No. 5 seed Akron
Syracuse lineup: Josh Pace (Sr.), Gerry McNamara (Jr.), Carmelo Anthony (Jr.), Hakim Warrick (Sr.), Craig Forth (Sr.)

Akron lineup: LeBron James (So.) and four other guys

LeBron's college eligibility was in question following his Hummer incident in high school, which scared off all the big schools. But he enrolled at hometown Akron and led the Zips to an undefeated season. Angry at getting a No. 5 seed, the Zips take it out on the Orange with a 76-71 upset, as LeBron scores 36 points, just below his season average, and holds Anthony to just 12.

No. 2 seed Illinois vs. No. 3 seed Arizona
Illinois lineup: Deron Williams (Jr.), Dee Brown (Jr.), Luther Head (Sr.), Roger Powell (Sr.), James Augustine (Jr.)

Arizona lineup: Salim Stoudamire (Sr.), Hassan Adams (Jr.), Andre Iguodala (Jr.), Ndudi Ebi (So.), Channing Frye (Sr.)

Despite playing before a raucous home crowd in Chicago, the Illini fall behind by 15 points with four minutes left. However, Arizona coach Lute Olson keeps a fatigued Salim Stoudamire on Deron Williams, who suddenly nails three 3-pointers as the Illini miraculously send the game into OT. With Illinois clinging to a 90-89 lead, Arizona gets the last possession. The Wildcats clear it out for Hassan Adams, but he can't find his way to the hoop, and throws up a desperation shot ... which is grabbed out of the air by a skywalking Andre Iguodala, who slams it home at the buzzer for the game-winner.

No. 1 seed Connecticut vs. No. 4 seed UCLA
UConn lineup: Ben Gordon (Sr.), Marcus Williams (So.), Charlie Villanueva (So.), Josh Boone (So.), Emeka Okafor (Sr.)

UCLA lineup: Jordan Farmar (Fr.), Arron Afflalo (Fr.), Trevor Ariza (So.), Dijon Thompson (Sr.), Tyson Chandler (Sr.)

Billed as a battle of UConn's big frontcourt vs. UCLA's 7-1 senior star Tyson Chandler, who led the Pac-10 in scoring, Ben Gordon steals the show, schooling the young UCLA backcourt for 32 points as UConn rolls 83-70.

No. 2 seed Georgia Tech vs. No. 3 seed DePaul
Georgia Tech lineup: Will Bynum (Sr.), BJ Elder (Sr.), Jarrett Jack (Jr.), Chris Bosh (Jr.), Luke Schenscher (So.)

DePaul lineup: Sammy Mejia (So.), Drake Diener (Sr.), Dorell Wright (Fr.), Quemont Greer (Sr.), Eddy Curry (Sr.)

DePaul's senior man-child, Eddy Curry, was unstoppable during the season, recording eight 20-20 games, and he and Tech's big guy, Chris Bosh, go at it in a memorable one-on-one scoring duel. Bosh is quicker and finishes with 41, while Curry bulls his way to 36. But it's not enough and when Curry fouls out, Tech's guard play proves the difference in an 83-79 victory.


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