Some of college basketball's best rivalries brew within state lines: Duke-North Carolina, Kentucky-Louisville, Indiana-Purdue and Cincinnati-Xavier all come to mind. But imagine if those schools and their in-state counterparts teamed up to take on the other 49 states in a hypothetical 50-team tournament. Who would win?
We've analyzed hundreds of rosters to examine which players are returning to school, where talented freshmen enrolled for their first college season and created hypothetical 10-man teams for each state with a starting five and five bench players. We also did our best to select deserving players who may not compete in a power conference.
Just to be clear, we're looking at the states in which players attend college, not the state where they were born or attended high school.
Here are the states that could produce the best hypothetical college basketball All-Star teams.
Point guard: Jon Axel Gudmundsson, Davidson (13.2 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 5.1 apg, 1.3 spg)
Shooting guard: Kellan Grady, Davidson (18.0 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 1.9 apg)
Small forward: RJ Barrett, Duke (28.0 ppg, 10.8 rpg, 3.0 apg on 2017 Nike EYBL circuit)
Power forward: Luke Maye, North Carolina (16.9 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 2.4 apg)
Center: Devontae Cacok, UNC Wilmington (17.7 ppg, 13.5 rpg, 1.0 spg)
Reserve: F Nassir Little, North Carolina (20 ppg, 9.0 rpg as a H.S. senior)
Reserve: F Zion Williamson, Duke (36.4 ppg, 11.4 rpg, 3.5 apg in H.S.)
Reserve: F Cam Reddish, Duke (23.8 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 3.1 apg, 1.5 spg on 2017 Nike EYBL circuit)
Reserve: G Tre Jones, Duke (23.5 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 7.5 apg as a H.S. junior)
Reserve: F Cameron Johnson, North Carolina (12.4 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 2.3 apg)
The four Tobacco Road schools that play in the ACC, most notably Duke and North Carolina, could put together quite an All-Star team but Davidson's Jon Axel Gudmundsson and Kellan Grady, along with UNC Wilmington's Devontae Cacok, warrant starting roles alongside their Blue Devil and Tar Heel brethren.
OK, we'll admit the positional balance of this All-Star team may not be perfect with six forwards but if you believe in assembling the best talent possible and letting the players figure it out, there's a lot to like on this hypothetical roster.
Duke's Zion Williamson and Cam Reddish and North Carolina's Nassir Little are arguably equally deserving of a starting spot given their high school production and their trajectory going forward, but their reserve roles show the incredible depth and top-end talent the state of North Carolina has this season.
Point guard: Barry Brown, Kansas State (15.9 ppg, 3.2 apg, 3.1 rpg, 1.8 spg)
Shooting guard: Quentin Grimes, Kansas (29.5 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 4.9 apg as a H.S. senior)
Small forward: Lagerald Vick, Kansas (12.1 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2.1 apg)
Power forward: Dean Wade, Kansas State (16.2 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 2.7 apg, 1.5 spg)
Center: Dedric Lawson, Kansas (19.2 ppg, 9.9 rpg, 3.3 apg, 2.1 bpg, 1.3 spg at Memphis in 2017)
Reserve: C Udoka Azubuike, Kansas (13.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 1.7 bpg)
Reserve: G Devon Dotson, Kansas (28.5 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 5.2 apg as a H.S. senior)
Reserve: F Xavier Sneed, Kansas State (11.1 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 1.8 apg, 1.6 spg)
Reserve: F Markis McDuffie, Wichita State (8.5 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 1.1 apg)
Reserve: G Marcus Garrett, Kansas (4.1 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 1.1 apg)
You could make the case that the top two teams in the Big 12 entering the 2018-19 season are both located in the state of Kansas, making the selection of a potential All-Star roster fairly easy.
The Kansas Jayhawks could start the season at No. 1 in the AP Top 25 poll, or somewhere very close to it, thanks to a loaded freshman class and the infusion of now-eligible transfers.
Kansas State returns essentially its entire rotation from a team that made the Elite Eight last season, while arguably their best player, forward Dean Wade, was limited to four minutes in the NCAA tournament.
Wichita State lost its top four scorers from last season but forward Markis McDuffie will be one of the Shockers' primary scoring options this season and he deserves a spot on the state's All-Star team.
You could make the case that Kansas' All-Star team is as balanced and versatile as any state's 10-man roster, as it walks the line of having both proven veterans and top-end freshmen.
Point guard: Immanuel Quickley, Kentucky (25.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg as a H.S. senior)
Shooting guard: Quade Green, Kentucky (9.3 ppg, 2.7 apg, 1.8 rpg)
Small forward: Keldon Johnson, Kentucky (22.1 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 4.4 at Oak Hill Academy)
Power forward: Reid Travis, Kentucky (19.5 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 1.3 apg at Stanford)
Center: Drew McDonald, Northern Kentucky (17.0 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 2.3 apg)
Reserve: F PJ Washington, Kentucky (10.8 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 1.5 apg)
Reserve: C Charles Bassey, Western Kentucky (19.4 ppg, 12.8 rpg, 3.4 bpg, 2.9 apg, 1.7 spg as a H.S. junior)
Reserve: G Ashton Hagans, Kentucky (20.2 ppg, 10.7 rpg, 7.6 apg, 3.6 spg as a H.S. senior)
Reserve: F VJ King, Louisville (8.6 ppg, 3.3 rpg)
Reserve: F Nick Mayo, Eastern Kentucky (18.0 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 2.2 apg, 1.5 bpg)
It's amazing to think that 10 players from Kentucky (the Wildcats) could reasonably represent Kentucky (the state) in this water cooler hypothetical. Coach John Calipari has assembled a roster of talented returning sophomores, promising freshmen and a key graduate transfer in fifth-year senior Reid Travis, who will spend his last year in Lexington after four years at Stanford. It's a roster mix that could draw parallels to the 2012 or 2015 Wildcats, depending on how the upcoming season plays out.
While an All-Star team from the state would start and end with the Wildcats, we did our best to show the diversity in talent that exists beyond the city limits of Lexington. Western Kentucky center Charles Bassey could be the most talented freshman in the state and Northern Kentucky forward Drew McDonald might have the most impressive college stats of any returning player.
As far as the six Kentucky players we chose and the ones we didn't: Calipari's changed the team's starting lineup and rotation during the Wildcats' foreign trip to the Bahamas in the offseason, so if UK hasn't solidified its roles yet, we can only guess and project who plays what position and how many shots they get per game. EJ Montgomery and Tyler Herro could have just as easily been included, as could Washington in the state's hypothetical starting lineup.
Point guard: Carsen Edwards, Purdue (18.5 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 2.8 apg)
Shooting guard: TJ Gibbs, Notre Dame (15.3 ppg, 3.0 apg, 2.8 rpg)
Small forward: Romeo Langford, Indiana (35.5 ppg, 8.9 rpg as a H.S. senior)
Power forward: Juwan Morgan, Indiana (16.5 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 1.5 apg, 1.4 bpg, 1.2 spg)
Center: Matt Haarms, Purdue (4.8 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 2.1 bpg)
Reserve: G Kamar Baldwin, Butler (15.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 3.2 apg, 1.5 spg)
Reserve: F John Konchar, Fort Wayne (14.8 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 4.7 apg, 2.5 spg)
Reserve: G Jordan Barnes, Indiana State (17.4 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 3.6 rpg, 1.2 spg)
Reserve: G Dru Smith, Evansville (13.7 ppg, 4.6 apg, 3.5 rpg, 2.0 spg)
Reserve: F Justin Smith, Indiana (6.5 ppg, 3.2 rpg)
Indiana's pair of Big Ten teams – Indiana and Purdue – probably get the most national attention of any programs in this basketball-rich state but there's talent beyond those two rivals. In fact, Butler and Notre Dame have arguably had the highest-level NCAA tournament success in the last decade with the Bulldogs' pair of national runner-up finishes and 16 tournament wins and the Fighting Irish's back-to-back Elite Eight appearances.
The state of Indiana's All-Star team can claim two of the frontrunners for Big Ten Player of the Year in Purdue guard Carsen Edwards and Indiana forward Juwan Morgan. Throw in Indiana's uber-talented freshman guard Romeo Langford, who is perhaps the incoming Big Ten freshman with the most hype in recent memory, and 7-3 Purdue center Matt Haarms, who averaged 2.1 blocks in 17 minutes per game as a redshirt freshman, and you have a strong core.
We're picking Notre Dame's TJ Gibbs – a 40 percent three-point shooter with good size at 6-3 who takes and makes free throws at a high rate – as our fifth starter. Langford's 6-6 frame allows the state's All-Star team to play three guards without losing size at the '3.'
The team's bench shows the depth of talent in the state with Butler, Evansville, Fort Wayne and Indiana State all represented.
Point guard: Pookie Powell, La Salle (16.9 ppg, 4.3 apg, 4.2 rpg)
Shooting guard: Phil Booth, Villanova (10.0 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 2.9 apg)
Small forward: Lamar Stevens, Penn State (15.5 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 1.9 apg, 1.1 bpg)
Power forward: Eric Paschall, Villanova (10.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 2.2 apg)
Center: Mike Watkins, Penn State (12.1 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 2.3 bpg)
Reserve: G Jahvon Quinerly, Villanova (18.5 ppg, 5.8 apg as a H.S. senior)
Reserve: G Joe Cremo, Villanova (17.8 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 3.8 apg at Albany)
Reserve: G Tramaine Isabell, Drexel (21.0 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 3.4 apg)
Reserve: G Dachon Burke, Robert Morris (17.6 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 2.5 apg0
Reserve: F AJ Brodeur, Penn (13.1 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 2.5 apg, 1.2 bpg)
The recent accomplishments of Villanova alone probably warrant the state of Pennsylvania to be included on this list, not to mention the rest of the Big 5 in Philadelphia (Penn, La Salle, Saint Joseph's and Temple) and a Penn State team that won 26 games last season.
The Wildcats return two starters from last season's national championship team and they'll add promising freshman guard Jahvon Quinerly, who will try to replace Jalen Brunson, and Albany transfer Joe Cremo, who averaged almost 20 points per game as a junior.
Penn State's Mike Watkins is one of the best rim protectors in the country with a 9.6 percent block rate and wing Lamar Stevens is a high-usage scorer who is poised to take an even bigger role offensively this season with the loss of point guard Tony Carr to the NBA.
Point guard: Jaylen Fisher, TCU (12.3 ppg, 5.4 apg, 1.5 rpg, 1.1 spg)
Shooting guard: Corey Davis Jr., Houston (13.1 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.4 apg)
Small forward: Kerwin Roach II, Texas (12.3 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 3.6 apg)
Power forward: Ethan Chargois, SMU (9.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 1.1 apg)
Center: Dylan Osetkowski, Texas (13.4 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 1.2 apg)
Reserve: G Desmond Bane, TCU (12.5 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 2.5 apg)
Reserve: G Jarrett Culver, Texas Tech (11.2 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 1.8 apg, 1.1 spg)
Reserve: G Admon Gilder, Texas A&M (12.3 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 2.6 apg, 1.2 spg)
Reserve: G Jhivvan Jackson, UTSA (18.4 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.8 apg)
Reserve: F Mark Vital, Baylor (6.7 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 2.2 apg)
The state of Texas could produce an All-Star team that draws from top talent across the Big 12, SEC and AAC, including a wide selection of guards who have averaged double figures at the high-major level. The team could potentially thrive with a four-around-one approach on offense with guards like TCU's Jaylen Fisher and Desmond Bane, Texas' Kerwin Roach II, Texas Tech's Jarrett Culver and Houston's Corey Davis Jr.
At 6-9, Texas' Dylan Osetkowski has experience playing center but he also made 42 three-pointers last season, meaning opposing defenses couldn't leave him unguarded behind the arc.
Texas is known as a football-loving state but the team above proves the Lone Star State can also play an exciting brand of basketball.
Point guard: BJ Taylor, UCF (15.9 ppg, 3.2 apg, 2.0 rpg)
Shooting guard: Jalen Hudson, Florida (15.5 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 1.1 apg)
Small forward: Terance Mann, Florida State (12.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 2.6 apg)
Power forward: Dewan Huell, Miami (FL) (11.4 ppg, 6.7 rpg)
Center: Tacko Fall, UCF (11.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg)
Reserve: G KeVaughn Allen, Florida (11.0 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 2.4 apg)
Reserve: G Trent Forrest, Florida State (7.9 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 4.1 apg)
Reserve: G Brian Beard Jr., FIU (16.4 ppg, 5.7 apg, 3.9 rpg)
Reserve: G Zach Johnson, Florida Gulf Coast (16.1 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 3.0 apg)
Reserve: C Christ Koumadje, Florida State (6.5 ppg, 4.1 rpg)
The state of Florida could put together a formidable lineup of veteran players with great depth at the guard and wing positions, and incredible size at center with 7-4 Christ Koumadje backing up 7-6 Tacko Fall.
Florida and Florida State have each made the Elite Eight in the last two seasons, meaning this team would be full of players who have valuable postseason experience.
Point guard: Emmett Naar, Saint Mary's (9.5 ppg, 7.9 apg, 2.4 rpg)
Shooting guard: Kyle Allman, Cal State Fullerton (19.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2.3 apg)
Small forward: Kris Wilkes, UCLA (13.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 1.7 apg)
Power forward: Bennie Boatwright, USC (13.6 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 2.0 apg)
Center: Moses Brown, UCLA (26 ppg, 17 rpg, 6 bpg as a H.S. senior)
Reserve: G Daejon Davis, Stanford (10.7 ppg, 4.8 apg, 4.4 rpg, 1.2 spg)
Reserve: G Kevin Porter Jr., USC (27 ppg, 14 rpg, 5 apg as a H.S. senior)
Reserve: G Jaylen Hands, UCLA (9.9 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 2.6 apg, 1.0 spg)
Reserve: F Isaiah Pineiro, San Diego (15.7 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 2.1 apg)
Reserve: F Kameron Edwards, Pepperdine (14.7 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 1.1 apg)
California has one of the largest pools of players from which to choose of any state in the country.
With Saint Mary's Emmett Naar, an efficient pass-first point guard who led the country with 284 assists last season, running the show, California's wings and forwards would be able to get the ball in prime position to score.
This team is young but UCLA's Kris Wilkes and Jaylen Hands and Stanford's Daejon Davis were all productive as freshmen, each capable of having a breakout season this winter. Wilkes and USC's Bennie Boatwright are capable of making the All-Pac-12 First Team.
UCLA center Moses Brown and USC guard Kevin Porter Jr. are arguably the two most talented freshmen who will compete in the Pac-12 this season, while San Diego's Isaiah Pineiro and Pepperdine's Kameron Edwards provide frontcourt depth out of the West Coast Conference.
Point guard: Shamorie Ponds, St. John's (21.6 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 4.7 apg, 2.3 spg)
Shooting guard: CJ Massinburg, Buffalo (17.0 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 2.4 apg, 1.1 spg)
Small forward: Tyus Battle, Syracuse (19.2 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 2.1 apg, 1.5 spg)
Power forward: Oshae Brissett, Syracuse (14.9 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 1.2 spg)
Center: Paschal Chukwu, Syracuse (5.4 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 2.5 bpg)
Reserve: G Raiquan Clark, LIU Brooklyn (17.3 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 1.5 apg, 1.1 spg)
Reserve: G Matt Morgan, Cornell (22.5 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 3.2 apg)
Reserve: G Justin Simon, St. John's (12.2 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 5.1 apg, 2.5 spg)
Reserve: F Nick Perkins, Buffalo (16.2 ppg, 6.0 rpg)
Reserve: F Courtney Stockard, St. Bonaventure (13.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 2.2 apg, 1.4 spg)
While St. John's and Syracuse have the richest men's basketball tradition among the New York-based Division I universities, there are many more schools that compete at the mid- and low-major level in the Empire State.
Buffalo's CJ Massinburg and Nick Perkins played key roles in the Bulls' 89-68 upset of No. 4 seed Arizona in the 2018 NCAA Tournament and LIU Brooklyn's Raiquan averaged 17 and seven for a Blackbirds team that won the NEC's automatic bid.
St. John's do-it-all point guard Shamorie Ponds consistently fills the box score at a level that few players can match. During the Red Storm's four-game winning streak in February, which included wins over Duke and Villanova, he averaged 32.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, five assists and 2.3 steals per game.
Syracuse had the tallest average height in the country last season so 6-6 guard Tyus Battle, 6-8 guard Oshae Brissett and 7-2 center Paschal Chukwu would give New York's starting lineup some imposing length defensively alongside the 6-1 Ponds and 6-3 Massinburg.