If you are a crazy college hoops fan like me, you probably have secretly fantasized about coaching a college team; recruiting, practice regimens, offensive and defensive sets, making a run to the NCAA tournament...then your office phone rings and you snap back to reality. Ouch I'm still here in Dilbert's world grinding it out.
Maybe you have tried fantasy sports, but it's not the same. You aren't really coaching - fantasy sports is just a statistical analysis with unbelievable teams of all-stars and no basis in reality.
But if you want to get a taste for the cerebral side of coaching college basketball, there is a place for you at Hoops Dynasty. HD is an web-based strategy simulation game in which you coach a college basketball team for multiple seasons. You start in Division III and try to work your way up to a power conference team in DI.
Seasons are condensed to about 45 days from the recruiting period through season (1 sim game per night) and the National Tournament (a Turbo league is also available that plays 2 sim games per day - and lasts about 30 days per season).
During the offseason before a new season starts, there is a recruiting period and you are provided a recruiting budget based upon the number of slots you need to fill and the success your conference had in the NT the previous year. Recruits are scattered around the World (mainly US) and they are each carry an overall rating which is comprised of scores in 12 categories. You target recruits that meet the criteria you need for your offense or defense sets. For instance, if you run a Full Court Press defense you need to recruit guards with higher skill ratings than for a Zone defense.
Recruiting lasts about 5 actual days. Then the season begins and you can play two exhibition games to work on your lineup and try out different tempo and defensive position strategies. In Gameplanning you select the offense and defense you are going to run, the tempo (fast, normal or slow), defensive positioning (+ to play spot up on perimeter players or - to condense down into the paint), your depth chart, allocate % of offense for each player (who will shoot), 3 point frequency and double teams.
Throughout the season, you tweak your lineup and other variables to optimize your playing strategies. Each team plays 10 non-conference games and 16 conference games during a season, then an end of the year Conference Tournament and invitees then play in one of two post-season tournaments. The National Tournament is the biggie and a lesser tournament called the PIT that is similar to the NIT in real life.
During the year teams are ranked and their rankings change based upon an RPI and SOS formulation. At the end of the year conference and national awards are handed out based upon the years performance. All of the game play, RPIs, SOS and awards are all simulated by the computer based upon a very complex simulation engine that takes into account: ratings of players on each team, the offense and defense run by each team, the coaching variables set prior to the game, fatigue factors, RPIs, etc.
After the season there is a 4 day period for coaching job changes. Coaching selections are based upon Coaching Prestige (record in last 4 years and lifetime), Loyalty (how long you stayed and current school), availability, competition for the job, etc.
Then the entire cycle starts again. The game is so addicting that most managers end up having several teams (I currently manage 3 teams - a DI, DII and DIII team). There are 8 different worlds that you can join that are all playing at different places in a season. Each world has all of the DI, DII and DIII schools available in real life.
The game is not free, but the cost is reasonable at $12.95 per season (or $99 for a 10 season pack).
If you are into college hoops, you should give the game a try. I no longer play fantasy sports because they just can't compare to the excitement and cerebral nature of Hoops Dynasty.
Check it out here
If you do play then join then send me a sitemail on the site (I play under weirdrash) and I can send you some pointers and tips to help you strategize. Although the site has a very good informational base of data with a lot of the base data. Hope to see you on the virtual hardcourt.
If you would rather play Football or Nascar, there are also Dynasty variations for those sports.