Let us hear your thoughts about this Round Table topic! The NCAA Basketball Tournament starts this week, yet the gaming options for college basketball, and college sports in general, is nearly non-existent. What do you do during this time to get your college gaming fix? Mike Dieker: I have never given up on playing college hoops 2k8. The game may be 11 years old but it still doesn’t feel old. I bounce around with open and career legacies. I usually make it through the Max 40 seasons before the tournament ends and then it goes away until college football season ends. UC-Riverside is my favorite team start a career with, and have even stayed with them until I was forced to retire. I have tried playing EA Sports March Madness/NCAA basketball but the last two versions I thought sucked compared to 2k series. I even broke out March Madness 01 this past year and it wasn’t too bad for being on the PS1 Mike Lowe: I just repurchased College Hoops 2K8 last week and have started a new closed dynasty with North Florida. All I’ve done so far is scouting the ABA which has been fun to even dig around looking for some role players who are 2-star guys. It’s a great game, and I’ve probably owned it at least 3-4 different times. it was a lot harder to come by this time around, but since I bought a PS3 a few months ago for NCAA Football ’14, I plan to keep this one for a while. It’s the video game equivalent of a collector’s item! I also picked up Fight Night Champion. Mike Dieker: That is one avenue of the game I never really got into was the scouting part of it. Great concept for its time, however it was just as effective to sim it rather than log through the 18 or so days. North Florida is my second favorite. Florida and California are both lucrative on recruits and occasionally you can get a 75+ overall transfer that equates to a stud in those lower level schools Funny you mention Fight Night, I picked up round 2 a few weeks ago for the PS2. So much fun, however in my adulthood the haymaker system was just too easy in that game Mike Lowe: Oh, I definitely simulate it all; I merely meant that I do take the time to use the planner to ensure I’m seeing the guys I want to keep an eye on as often as I can. Maybe if I was a top 10 team, I’d consider playing them, but 1) I’m nowhere close to recruiting the top talent in those games, and 2) It seems silly to play those games as the coach of UNF. Ken Craig: NCAA 2k 8 was definitely my game of choice years ago. I remember spending so much of my of my time growing up building up some of the mid majors schools. I loved playing with Gonzaga and I thats probably why their my favorite college basketball team to this day. I’ve tried to play NCAA basketball 10, the latest college basketball game, but it just had way to many AI issues for it to be enjoyable for me. As a result most my tournament time is spent by filling up countless brackets that will inevitably break after the first round. Mike Dieker: The most success I’ve had with those lower level schools is just recruiting the heck out of juco and world players. I’ll start recruiting local players and closer to home when they are freshmen in high school. There’s a fine line between studs and duds but sometimes it pays off. Can occasionally compete with the big dogs if you start that early. Started a new career legacy over the weekend and replaced Roy Williams in 2015 at UNC. That was probably the fastest I had ever gotten to a major program. Mike Lowe: I move so slowly through games. I take my sweet old time to really let things sink in and set up the details. You made it to 2015 this weekend? I setup my individual training and have yet to play our first game in 2007 at North Florida! Mike Dieker: In about 4 hours lol. Sim sim sim. Recruiting each week of course. Was at UC Riverside and made tournament each two years then Missouri State came calling. Would have stayed out west but they had a stellar recruiting class with 4 guys 79+ as freshmen. Ended up winning national championship their senior year then just waited for the right offer. Gonna see if I can hit 40 years before Thursday lol Justin Jones: I love burning thru franchises like that from the college level. Used to do that with a friend all the time and that’s how we passed time with school. At the time 08 was out, I had a friend who had just graduated from Liberty so I enjoyed all the games of that era and playing as the flames and trying to build them into a Dynasty. I enjoy the career path of moving from school to school as well as we’d also then force ourselves to try build a dynasty program from one of the smaller schools like Army used to be back in the day for football and how Duke, UConn and Syracuse have been built on the shoulders of individual coaches. Mike Dieker: Outside of video games, the bracket challenges that the various sites really helps out. My office has a bracket pool and even my town has a pool. $5-10/bracket so the pots can get upwards of $1000 bucks. This year I feel like the toughest for me to fill out a bracket. Duke getting Zion back is a huge plus but everyone else you just don’t know. I do find it truly amazing how nonsports watchers are able to get into the bracket challenges. We do bowl pickems in those same groups but it doesn’t come close to garnering the attention March madness does. However that comes no where close to replacing a video game Mike Lowe: True story: I’ve never filled out a bracket in my life. Ever. Ken Craig: @Mike Lowe I think you’d really like it if you d did. I just got in a bracket with some friends of mine and there’s already some solid banter coming in the group chat we have together. Plus there’s nothing like predicting a big upset. *if you did one Mike Lowe: I get asked every year, but it just does nothing for me. Ken Craig: That’s fair, I will say you guys have got me quite excited to play 2k8. I’m looking through some of my old ps3 games now to see if can find it. Mike Lowe: What would a new NCAA basketball or football game look like? Is what we’re seeing with Doug Flutie Maximum Football 2019, with a customizable universe with fictional players and teams out of the box, the way of the future, or will the bigger studios eventually get back into the college games? Mike Dieker: An official NCAA license is never gonna happen again I fear. Thanks a lot Ed O Bannon. I’m encouraged by the possibilities of maximum football and future titles I hope will follow suit. It pains me to think what an college basketball /football by 2k or ea would like on the current consoles. Mike Lowe: I actually do think we’ll see a licensed game again, just not sure when. Too much money to be made not to figure something out. I also don’t understand why there’s a reluctance to build more customizable games like Doug Flutie MF 2019, etc. as we’ve seen all of these sport games make custom rosters, draft classes, etc. I guess there just aren’t as many people downloading those files as we think in our community. 2K made and continues to make great sport games. Their baseball was a bit buggy, but it did have better presentation than the Show does even in 2019. Justin Jones: I could see 2K trying to get back into the college world and create a customizable world for college. The idea of being able to build rosters/schools all manually I think would remove the pressure of the NCAA but if they build the engine to allow for full creation like that, then I think they are just as guilty as if they made it themselves Mike Lowe: Teams, logos, and rosters are easy. The tricky part comes in the arenas and fields Ken Craig: I think it might be difficult for an ncaa liscence with the ed obannon and Sam Keller case so recent. However I don’t think we need it. My favorite parts of Dynasty mode were playing with and recruiting guys I’d never heard of. Personally I wouldn’t mind using created teams either. I think we can still recreate the college experience without this license. Maximum football and gridiron champions, another new ncaa football title coming in 2020, seem to be realizing this. Justin Jones: But man would I love a full universe of college sports as well, Maybe we will see a world in which EA brings back the franchise and donates part of the profits to scholarship funds or something like that to build up good will for the game Mike Lowe: Yes, I love fictional. I think I’m the only person on earth who actually misses the fictional Diamond Dynasty MLB The Show. Was that 14 or 15 or something like that? It was awesome perusing the market for some random dudes The thing about customization, is that with a new annual release, the studios could ensure the game can import files from previous versions. So even things like arenas would only get better over time. We already see creation suites for all of these items in games like NBA 2K, so it’s not unfathomable. They key, obviously, would be ensuring the files are sharable in-game. The NHL series has failed miserably at this, and is the biggest flaw in an otherwise very solid title. Justin Jones: I think we might really hear buzz around this in 2020-2021 with the new console launches and the new code ability. They’ve been out of the franchise so long they would almost need to build from the ground up, so waiting for PS5/Xbox would make a lot of sense from them. More time passes, more time could change for NCAA to pay players or make full on changes Ken Craig: I think the paying players Is really going to be difficult. The NCAA has a pretty firm stance against this. So much so that I just can’t see it happening anytime in the next 10-15 years. I would love to see a college sports game on the new console though. It would be a great start from them and I’m sure it would have a large crowd following. Mike Dieker: I totally agree with Ken. If they’re able to make it out of the Adidas thing, they’re gonna be unstoppable. What do you do during the NCAA Tournament to get your college gaming fix? Does anyone play some of the text sim games out there that we didn’t discuss here? Let us hear your thoughts about this Round Table topic!