NCAA College Basketball 2K3

NCAA College Basketball 2K3

College basketball is every sports lover’s meeting ground. Each March, with the coming of the NCAA basketball tournament, football, baseball, hockey, and curling fans come together to fill out a bracket, pick a Cinderella, and skip out of work early to catch the opening round of games. Sports fans live to see some David topple a Goliath, and it’s this underdog mentality that fuels Sega’s NCAA College Basketball 2K3.

While NBA 2K3 is a tighter (and perhaps better) game from top to bottom, it doesn’t have the same energy, rabid fanbase, or guts as NCAA. The passing is cleaner here than in its NBA cousin, plus, the game is pleasantly more run-and-gun. NCAA suffers, however, in some of its animations (jumpshots look decidely ugly), and even with its gameplay. Crossovers and spin moves aren’t as effective as they should be, and post-up game needs some work; this keeps NCAA from greatness.

Even though it’s not the NBA, NCAA’s real bread and butter is the Legacy mode. You take over a crap team, and your mission is to win the national championship: Make waves and you’ll be promoted to better teams, don’t and you’ll get canned. You recruit, play hard, cross your fingers, and if key players stick around, they could go pro and you might accomplish your goals.

While this won’t have you painting your face school colors before you go online to take on some braggart Duke alum, it’s the best (and by best we mean only) college hoops game existing on Xbox.

Copyright © 2004 Ziff Davis Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. Originally appearing in Xbox Nation.