Are you going through a college basketball withdrawal? Well, a small group of Atlantic 10 basketball fans will try to help.
For the third year in a row, Derek Howard, a counselor and 2010 graduate of St. Bonaventure, created Atlantic 10 rosters on NBA 2K. On Twitter, he goes by @SBUnfurled, and is heralded by A-10 Twitter for his graphic design prowess. After simulating the A-10 Tournament earlier this month, Howard and co. will also simulate the NCAA Tournament and broadcast all of the games on YouTube.
The people want lines. The people NEED lines. Here's our bracket with official first round spreads (courtesy of @ThatBoy24).— March Madness 2K20 #March2k20 (@March2K20) March 23, 2020
Get the word out, share, and make those calls. March Will Never Die! #March2K20 pic.twitter.com/EVjU5hTU75
Once the A-10 Tournament was cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak, his podcast partner, @BonaCommenter, knew what to do: They had to simulate it on 2K for the masses to see.
“Commenter thought it would be cool to use my roster and live stream all the ‘would-be-games’ for people,” Howard said. “Since A-10 Twitter is a close and active community of fans, it took off really quickly.”
He started it up on Championship Saturday and during the first day of the tournament, the stream peaked at around 600 people. That was for the Dayton game. For the weekend, they had over 25,000 viewers, many of which play basketball in the Atlantic 10. The whole tournament was full of upsets, as Rhode Island beat St. Bonaventure in the title game.
After the success of the A-10 Tournament, the Bona faithful knew there was only one thing to do: Make it for the NCAA Tournament.
Everyone had their own task, whether it was making rosters, constructing the bracket, setting betting lines or creating pep band playlists. BonaCommenter and Rhode Island student Evan Provost have been creating the rosters for a week strong, and will continue working on them through the tournament.
This past Sunday was Selection Sunday. Their selection committee, led by BracketForecast.com, made a bracket that followed all the rules that the NCAA would. A couple things were tweaked due to past simulations. Rhode Island made it into the dance as the Atlantic 10’s automatic bid, making Stanford the first team out.
After the Selection Show, they simulated the first two First Four games. Last year’s runner up, Texas Tech dominated Richmond. And former mid-major powerhouses faced off, as Xavier pulled away from Wichita State late.
The Round of 64 begins on Thursday at 1 p.m. EST, as Mountain West Champion Utah State plays Penn State. Like the NCAA Tournament, they plan on running four games at one time. Not only that, they’ll be on four separate channels with a NFL RedZone-type channel called Buzzer Beater.
Sign up for the Tournament Challenge or tune in to one of the five channels on YouTube: