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Marvel Heroes vs. Villains - NCAA Tournament Edition

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Oh the waiting is the hardest part...

2020 Comic-Con International Goes Virtual Due To The Coronavirus
Basically this, but real, and on a basketball court.
Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

The time between Selection Sunday and the first full day of the NCAA tournament is approximately 50 weeks. Meanwhile, excitement for college basketball is at its highest during that time. So, that means fans need something to read and occupy their time, and we get tons of fluff articles about everything under the sun. Well, here is one more. You’re welcome.

My two obsessions are Marvel comics and college basketball, so I’ve decided to go all out and combine them. I’ve put together two basketball teams that could compete in Division 1. One team of Marvel characters that are, traditionally, considered heroes, and one made up of characters who are, traditionally, considered villains. Except, to realistically compete in college basketball, their powers can’t be obviously affecting the game, either visually or by result during a play. I’m going to go for the best overall starting lineup and team for each.

That means no Hulk at the 5 because his size and strength would obviously be destructive and lead to a laundry list of NCAA infractions. Also, no equipment you wouldn’t normally see on a basketball court, so Iron Man is out unless Tony Stark has a 30” vertical he’s not been showing off. I’m looking for players that can pass as civilians playing basketball. If they can use their super strength in a limited way that doesn’t break someone in half or require them to turn to a blacked-out solar form, they’re good. Finally, no pure speedsters, if Quicksilver is controlling himself so as to not do anything too obvious, he’s not really going to be much help because the skills needed for the sport aren’t strengths of his.

There are two things I am going to ignore for this to work though. First, some of these characters are quite literally super dense, let’s just assume an official lineup would fudge their weights so as to not raise suspicion. The other thing is age, just assume they do everything they can to look the part and none of them has used any eligibility, like 28 year-old BYU QB.

Let’s begin with the heroes starting lineup:

PG Matt “Daredevil” Murdock 5’11” 185lbs

Let’s start with the elephant in the room, Daredevil’s blindness is either never going to come up because his radar sense is so good that he can mimic a sighted person, or no opposing team is going to bring it up at all cause they don’t want to have the awkward conversation with media in post-game. Murdock’s heightened senses would give him amazing court...um..vision. His strength and agility are equal to those of a top-notch athlete, and based on his prowess through his trademark billy clubs, I imagine some Pete Maravich-level passes are going to happen. He’d likely be a solid shooter as well, but that might not matter when he has this next guard to pass to.

SG Clint “Hawkeye” Barton 6’3” 230lbs

My favorite thing about this choice is I was going to put him here no matter what, but then it turned out that his size is near perfect for a college two guard. He is a near perfect shooter, to paraphrase Clint’s MCU counterpart he “(shot) 18, (made) 18, just can’t seem to miss.” He has the physical abilities of a high-level athlete and like any good shooter, we’ll mask any defensive deficiencies by putting him on the least explosive player.

SF Kaine “Scarlet Spider” Parker 6’4” 250lbs

Spider-Man’s other clone, he’s listed as taller than Peter (The Jackal never did perfect cloning), so I’m going to go with that and give him the start at the 3. With his high level of agility and strength he’ll be able to lock down guards and forwards easily and his spider-sense will alert him to backdoor cuts and screens. His speed and leaping ability will make him lethal on the fast break on offense and defense.

PF Luke Cage 6’6” 425lbs

Think Charles Barkley with even more strength and toughness. He was already a good athlete before becoming a superhero. His more recent comic exploits show that he can be an effective team leader after his time with the (New) Avengers. I’m not sure if he ever played streetball in NYC, but growing up on the streets of Harlem you can bet he’s at least watched some high-level play.

C James “Warpath” Proudstar 7’2” 350lbs

There aren’t a lot of seven-foot tall superheroes that don’t have an obviously non-human appearance. Colossus is only seven-foot when he is in his metal form and loses most of his powers while in the flesh. Thankfully, Warpath’s size is in the normal human range and he doesn’t have to change appearance to use his strength. Proudstar grew up on the reservation in Camp Verde, Arizona so there is a good chance he’s had exposure to basketball as a child and the X-Mansion has a basketball court so I’m guessing at least some X-Men use it.

Bench:

Thor Odinson 6’6” 640lbs

Strong, great leader, absolutely zero basketball knowledge. Could probably get away with tiny lightning shocks on defense.

Volstagg 6’8” 1425lbs*

Good luck moving him off the block...this one could go either way on whether he is passable as a regular human. Also an Asgardian and dinged for lack of game knowledge.

Hercules 6’5” 325lbs

Again, very strong, but likely more skilled than the Asgardians due to his labors and more time spent on Earth. Can be selfish with the ball and makes the flashy play instead of the smart one.

Steve “Captain America” Rogers 6’2” 220lbs

Leader, really good with throwing things with just the right spin and angle. Super-strength and quickness.

T’Challa “Black Panther” 6’0” 200lbs

Insanely smart and actually travelled around the US and Europe as a young man so he’s got some knowledge of the game. Incredible reflexes and strength, lockdown defender.

Longshot 6’2” 80lbs

Probability field manipulation, do I really need to say more than that? He can change the odds from the bench. Talk about an intangible.

Peter “Spider-Man” Parker 5’10” 167lbs

NYC kid. What he lacks in size, he makes up for in leaping ability. Great hands, and a solid shooter after all those years practicing with webs. Spider-sense helps him just like it does Kaine.

*I want to note, Heimdall is 7’2” and has a more typical body shape than Volstagg...except he has no physical eyes and isn’t really meant to leave his post.

Villains

PG Tony “Taskmaster” Masters 6’2” 220lbs

His photographic reflexes would allow him to simply watch the best players in the game and learn their moves. The same goes for playing defense against other teams. Additionally, he could have the marksmanship of Hawkeye when it came to shooting. Honestly, as poorly as his supervillain and spy career has gone at times, he should probably just try to be a professional athlete.

SG Lester “Bullseye” 6’0” 175lbs

Former baseball player, his skill set is so similar to Hawkeye’s that he was given the moniker during the Dark Reign storyline. He’d be a deadeye shooter and his psychopathy would likely leave him completely unfazed by roaring crowds and able to play mind games with opposing players without remorse.

SF Erik Killmonger 6’6” 225lbs

Killmonger benefits from ingesting the same heart-shaped herb that gives Black Panther his powers. Additionally, he’s extremely intelligent with multiple advanced degrees. His size gives him more of an advantage than Black Panther on the court and he cracks the starting lineup here. His time spent in exile in the US and earning degrees at US colleges likely gave him some exposure to the game as well.

PF Victor “Sabretooth” Creed 6’6” 380lbs

Sabretooth’s fang-like teeth and claw-like fingernails might be somewhat difficult to hide, but it seems doable and the villains need his ferocity inside. Again, he’s a borderline psychopath so not much will phase him and he loves to compete. Recently there has been a run of good Canadian players coming to the NCAA, Sabretooth won’t be nearly as skilled at actual basketball as them, but his extended lifespan and global travel suggests he probably has some knowledge of the game.

C M’Baku “Man-Ape” 7’0” 355lbs

Another in the long history of centers imported from Africa with little or no basketball background. Unlike Mutombo and Bol Bol though, M’Baku is thick as hell. He’s like Shaq with super-strength. His lack of basketball skill will be off-set by his warrior’s mindset.

Bench

Sergei “Kraven” Kravinoff 6’0” 235lbs

Great instincts, extremely accurate with a spear, so passing should be good. Will study the game plan and track his man all over the court.

Keniuchio “Silver Samurai” Harada 6’6” 250lbs

Does swordsmanship translate to basketball skills? I’m not sure, but he’s tall enough and loves a challenge.

Maxwell “Grizzly” Markham 6’9” 290lbs

Athletic background (ex-pro wrestler) and the internet tells me his powers are now from implants and not an exo-suit that looks like a bear, plus he’s just huge.

Brock “Crossbones” Rumlow 6’4” 290lbs

Marksman, martial artist, psychopath, think Brad Davison on steroids.

Eddie “Venom” Brock 6’3” 260lbs

Eddie can retain the powers of venom while maintaining a human appearance, plus he was already pretty jacked pre-symbiote. More of an antihero now, but he transferred to the villians for more playing time.

Kl’rt “Super Skrull” Variable height and weight

Kl’rt, and really any Skrull, can shape-shift to whatever size his team needs. He’s posed as Iron Fist, Captain Marvel, and the Thing among others. Need a Shaq? He’s got you.

Now, I know I have more heroes than villains, I didn’t really have a set number for these teams, I just wanted to find enough characters to fit my idea and make a real team that made sense to me.

A lot of this info is sourced from different sites and my own experience as a Marvel fan, but the site I used most was https://marvel.fandom.com/wiki/Marvel_Database. So, if you want to do your own research on anything Marvel, that’s always a good place to start.

If you have ideas and suggestions of your own, let me know, and if I have time, I’ll tell you why you’re wrong and that character wouldn’t work for my arbitrary made up scenario.