The first and second round of this year’s NCAA tournament lived up to the billing of the best weekend (and a few days) on the sports calendar. The bracket-busting upsets, the big time player performances, and the agony of defeat of your favorite school all make March Madness special. Okay, both men and women’s hoops squads for Baylor lost in the round of 32, whatever. But what if we could redeem them? Preferably on a next-gen system? Imagine taking over the Baylor hoops program in the brand new Foster Pavilion on your quest to win another national title.
It would be GLORIOUS. It’s been awhile, but I previously wrote about the return of EA Sports college football franchise (which has since been delayed to Summer 2024). But, it’s time to talk about hoops. We need it back.
College Hoops 2K8 is Amazing
The last college basketball video game released in 2009 when Oklahoma alum Blake Griffin graced the cover of “NCAA Basketball 10”. It’s hard to think that it has been 14 YEARS since we’ve been able to play a college basketball game in the virtual world. Of course, NBA 2K has dominated the professional game in the video game world, arguably the most popular video game franchise to date. And with the return of NIL and the ability to play players, we need a college basketball game just like football. My absolute favorite basketball video game was “College Hoops 2K8” which had Ohio State center Greg Oden on the cover. Here are a few features I enjoyed in the game that, with some updated tweaking, would make this game amazing:
The legacy or “dynasty” mode for College Hoops 2K8 was way ahead of its time. Those that dived deep into this mode were immersed with an experience that hardcore sports gamers dream of. After taking over the reins of the program you can manage the roster with cuts, redshirts, etc. But the best feature of this mode was how in-depth recruiting was. There’s a huge recruiting board and map that lists prospects from all over the country which you can order by position, state, or classification, and ranking; and notables such as McDonald’s All-Americans (which is a game you can play at end of season), or the Mr. Basketball in their state. You can start recruiting players as young as freshmen in high school!
It requires a consistent recruiting plan for you to land that commit at the end of his senior season. This is just a small taste of what the mode has to offer, but it truly allowed for users to get consumed in the mode while competing for national titles each season.
When you played this game, you were IN the game. Each environment was accurate to its real life counterpart. The “rock chalk jayhawk” chants at Allen Fieldhouse, the raucous crowd at Cameron Indoor, all make the experience feel authentic. You could even create your own chant, with tons of options to make your home court advantage unique each and every time you step on the court. The broadcast team of Verne Lundquist and Bill Raftery provide commentary of the game and it really feels like you’re playing a CBS broadcast.
During legacy mode, there are weekly highlight shows hosted by Greg Gumbel to summarize each week in your season. At the end of the season, there is even a full Selection Sunday bracket reveal show which truly matches the nerves and emotion that is felt when watching the tournament reveal in real life, it’s truly well done.
There are a ton of other features that make this game great and one of my favorites of all-time. I hope someone gets the green light to resurrect this franchise so I can win five straight national titles for the good guys and ladies in green and gold. Yes, we need women hoops in video games please. 2K has done a great job with this in the last view editions of their game, but this is a MUST for college hoops as well. Until then, I’ll fire up this classic and enjoy the nostalgia.