We’re 12 years removed from when EA released NCAA Basketball 10, the last college basketball video game (for now, hopefully), and the dynasty mode is one of the main features of this relic from a different time. I entered high school in 2009 – the same year this game came out – and I’ve been playing it ever since, with most of my time being spent building dynasties.
I wouldn’t call this game especially difficult, but because of age and just weirdness, there are some mechanics that are important to understand when starting a dynasty in NCAA Basketball 10. I don’t mean to brag, but I’ve won a few national championships in my day, so let these rings help you navigate the virtual college basketball world and bring a title home to whatever school you choose to take to glory.
NCAA Basketball 10 Dynasty Tips
Choosing Your Team
The team you choose for your NCAA Basketball 10 dynasty will affect a lot of things. If you start at a North Carolina or Kansas type of program, the expectations you’ll run into will be much different than if you begin at Portland or Jacksonville. Your resources will also be drastically different – everything from recruiting points to quality of facilities to how often you’ll be able to upgrade said facilities.
The first thing you need to decide in your dynasty mode is what kind of experience you want. Are you looking to start yourself at a low-end job or in the mid-major ranks and then them to the mountain top or jump to a bigger program after a while? Do you want to skip all that and be at a big-time program from the opening tip?
If you want a bigger challenge, start off with the worst of the worst. If you want to start lower but not that low, perhaps a team in the Missouri Valley or CUSA would be for you. Keep in mind: these are the conferences of 2009. The Big East is still a 16-team behemoth, Maryland is in the ACC, Creighton and Wichita State are in the MVC, and the Horizon League looks a good deal different, among many other differences from the modern landscape. Keep this in mind when choosing a team and considering which league you’d like to play in.
Setting Your Schedule
I would say that how much you do or don’t load up your non-conference schedule should be based on your team and what you hope to accomplish in a given season.
For example, if you’re Delaware State at the beginning of your dynasty, there’s no reason to load up your non-con with massive programs. Sure, maybe play one or two to test yourself and see where you stand, but you won’t gain much by losing to tons of teams obviously much better than yours (this isn’t real life – your players won’t earn valuable experience in those games like they would in real college basketball). At Delaware State, you probably don’t have your eyes on an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament anyway, so the non-conference should be more centered around gauging the strengths of your team, which players you like, how you want your rotation to look and so on.
If you’re a mid-major that could maybe get an at-large, then you should schedule some challenges for yourself in the non-conference. You don’t need to be playing the top teams in the country, but you do need to add some games against competition that the committee will notice, assuming you win. You don’t want to overload yourself and stack up losses, but you will need some wins out-of-conference to get into the tournament without winning your conference tournament. It is not a good idea to rely on your mid-major conference to offer you enough big wins to get you into the Big Dance by the end of the season.
As a high-major team, this also depends on who you are. If you’re Duke, play pretty whomever you want – you’re the big time, so act like it. If you’re Boston College, you can reign it in some. You know the ACC will give you several opportunities for big wins, so you don’t have to load up in the non-conference. But you do still want at least some difficult competition so you can learn about your team in games that are tough and tight.
The big lessons: don’t schedule so easy that you don’t learn anything about your team, but don’t schedule so tough that you tank your record before entering conference play.
Also keep in mind that sometimes the game is weird with tournament selections. The bracketology feature offered during the season is borderline useless. Just do your best and hope it works out, or win your conference tournament and don’t let the game decide.
You need to start recruiting immediately in NCAA Basketball 10, but be aware of the amount of points you have. That’s what you get for the season, so don’t blow them all so early on that you’re left unable to scout and recruit later on. Still, it’s important to target those you have interest in before the season starts, then continue working on them as the season goes on.
Know how you want to play and recruit to it. If you want to play with a half-court tempo with a heavy inside presence, focus on bringing in big men who fit your system. If you want to play up tempo and have your guards dominate the game, value players who can do that first and foremost.
It’s important to get some scouting done on players you’re interested in to get a better picture for whether or not they fit into what you’re trying to do. If you emphasis deep shooting, then you don’t want to sign a guard who doesn’t shoot well. If you’re not on top of scouting and offer someone before knowing details like that, you can end up with dead weight on your roster.
Really, recruiting is pretty easy, but you can make it much more difficult by throwing away points. Be aware of what you’re spending and how much everything costs. Recruiting within your pipeline states will be much more affordable, so look at players in those places first. This is especially true if you’re not at a big-time program and have limited points to work with.
Know Your Tempo
The tempo mechanic is a big part of this game, and it’s important that you understand how you’re telling your team to play.
There are three options: up-tempo, balanced, and half-court. They’re pretty self-explanatory, but if you don’t know basketball terms, they basically mean playing fast (up-tempo), playing slow (half-court), or playing somewhere in between (balanced).
The tempo of a game can be ever-changing, and occasionally a meter will pop up at the bottom of the screen showing where the game’s tempo is on the scale. You want as much of the game to be played at your preferred tempo as possible.
Shots are more likely to fall when the game is being played at a team’s preferred tempo, plus it gives you a better idea of how you should execute your offense and defense. If you choose up-tempo, you will want to push the ball quickly every time you get it and look to get shots up quick. You can try to force the game to move quickly with your defense, too, by being aggressive without the ball through doubling, jumping passing lanes and going hard for steals. You’ll give up some easy buckets, but you’ll also generate some transition opportunities going the other way, but most importantly, you’ll cut down the length of possessions, thus increasing the game’s tempo. If a slower pace is what you want, you can do the opposite, running organized sets on offense and sitting back more defensively in an attempt to force the opponent to have long possessions.
Don’t believe me? Just let Bill Self explain it to you.
Whatever you choose, design your team and game plan around it. You’ll see a lot of iron otherwise.