We finally selected an calculated four great teams from the 2021 season to bring the total teams you can choose from to play in the Value Add Basketball Game to 128, going back in history to the inventor of the jumpshot (Kenny Sailors, Wyoming 1943 team). All four teams not only had great seasons, but each had one of the 6 most valuable basketball players in the country last year in the all-time Value Add Basketball Player ratings (click here, then put "2021" in the year search box).
Baylor 2021. The champs certainly earned a spot with their complete domination of excellent Final 4 teams Houston and Gonzaga. Jared Butler ranked as the 6th most valuable player in the country at Value Add Basketball, and www.kenpom.com had him even higher as the 4th best player.
Baylor starts out in our game rankings as the 29th best all-time team in the game, though we don't have games scheduled yet for these four new teams to see if they move up or down.
Colorado 2021. We loved watching McKinley Wright run point guard for Colorado, and ranked him as the 4th most valuable player in the country. He scored 24 points to eventual Elite 8 team USC in the Pac-12 tournament. Then we publicly picked him to destroy a red hot Georgetown team in the NCAA tournament, which he did with an amazing 13 assist performance.
While being a great team is one factor in adding new teams, we also factor in great players like him (e.g. Pistol Pete's LSU team was barely above average but we wanted him in the game). We also factor schools that have not yet had a team in the game. We passed over Final 4 teams UCLA and Houston because they already have multiple teams, and Gonzaga's other National Runner-Up from just a few years ago is in the game - so it was nice to add the first team from the state of Colorado.
Iowa 2021. The National Player of the Year Luka Garza was such an treat to watch his entire career. Even though both Value Add and www.kenpom.com ranked him 2nd in the country last year, KenPom ranked him 1st and Value Add 4th the year before to make him the rare player to be in the top 5 out of 4000+ players in consecutive years.
Even as his final game turned into a 1-on-5 against a great Oregon team in the tournament, watching him score 36 points on the way out was a fantastic sendoff.
USC 2021. As great as Garza was, we calculated 7-footer Evan Mobley was the most valuable player in the country last year. We would have still voted for Garza as the 4-year star against the freshman Mobley, but with the highest possible shot block ranking possible (21-30), a great steal guy for a 7-footer, and scoring or being fouled 65% of the time it gets to him on the 20-sided die (1-13), and an incredibly dominant rebounder at both ends (1-9 offensive and 1-8 defensive), he is the complete package. Seeing a 7-footer then dish out seven assists in a Sweet 16 win (vs. Oregon) just added to the complete picture.
His 13 rebound, MVP performance in the incredible 85-51 win against Kansas to move to the Sweet 16 was epic, and his brother Isaiah has kept it up by leading USC to a 12-0 start - the last undefeated team besides Baylor.