by Micah Hart
For the complete Bragging Rights rules and to vote for other matchups, click here. Our next matchup mirrors real life, as two teams that will meet on the hardcourt at the Final Four in Houston this weekend also meet for the chance to move the hypothetical Final Four in the Bragging Rights challenge.
Starters (all stats per 48 minutes, through 3/28):
Ray Allen, Celtics: 22.6 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 0.2 blocks, 1.3 steals
Ben Gordon, Pistons: 21.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 0.4 blocks, 1.1 steals
Emeka Okafor, Hornets: 15.8 points, 14.6 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 2.8 blocks, 0.7 steals
Charlie Villanueva, Pistons: 23.9 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.1 blocks, 1.1 steals
Rip Hamilton, Pistons: 25.2 points, 3.7 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 0.0 blocks, 1.1 steals
Missed the cut: Caron Butler, Mavericks (injured); Rudy Gay, Grizzlies (injured); A.J Price, Pacers; Hilton Armstrong, Hawks; Hasheem Thabeet, Rockets; Jeff Adrien, Warriors
How they got here: Took the USC Trojans behind the woodshed in the Sweet 16, winning by a 91%-9% margin.
Team synopsis: Things have changed a bit for UConn since their Sweet 16 win. Rudy Gay was lost to shoulder surgery and will miss the rest of the season, which by our rules makes him ineligible. Tough break for the Huskies, who are now down two starters in Gay and Caron Butler. Fortunately, Charlie V is a capable player, who like Ben Gordon is probably even better in a playground environment like this. Plus, Villanueva gives the team a little more height to go with Okafor in the middle. This is still a dynamite scoring team for the boys from Storrs. How you would stop Allen and Hamilton, two of the best shooters of all-time coming off screens, is anyone’s guess.