Commentary

Dance Lessons: NBA talent required?

Recent history shows draftable talent is a must for an NCAA title … or does it?

Updated: March 22, 2010, 1:00 PM ET
By Tom Haberstroh | ESPN Insider
KentuckyChris Graythen/Getty ImagesRich in NBA-caliber talent, Kentucky looks like a title team ... if recent trends hold.

How often have you heard the clichés? "Defense wins championships." "Live by the 3, die by the 3." But are they truth or myth? Dance Lessons looks at NCAA tournaments past to see whether these truisms check out, and examine which teams they help and hurt in 2010.

Last year's NCAA tournament champ, North Carolina, had Tyler Hansbrough, Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington and Danny Green on its roster. The 2008 winner, Kansas, had Mario Chalmers, Brandon Rush, Darnell Jackson and Darrell Arthur. The back-to-back champs of 2006 and 2007 from Florida boasted Al Horford, Corey Brewer and Joakim Noah. And let's not forget the 2005 championship team led by Sean May, Raymond Felton, Rashad McCants and Marvin Williams.

Clearly, if a team wants to climb the ladder and cut down the nets come April, it needs, at the very least, three NBA-caliber players to play big minutes. Or does it?


To see whether you need NBA talent to bag a title and which teams that helps and hurts from the Sweet 16 onward, you must be an ESPN Insider.

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