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Fantasy College Basketball 101

How and Where to Play Fantasy College Hoops

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Fantasy basketball is a fairly simple game. You select a team and fill out a roster. You succeed or fail based on how well your players perform in certain categories -- usually points, field goal percentage, free-throw percentage, three pointers, rebounds, assists, and steals. The team that performs best across all categories wins. There are two basic scoring systems -- you either tally scores for the season, or run scoring on a head-to-head basis for a set period of time and then tally wins and losses against the other players in your league.

Now, if you're setting up a fantasy NBA league, that's basically all you'd need to know. You go to NBA.com or one of the big fantasy sports portals like Yahoo!, ESPN.com, or CBS Sportsline. Sites like those make running a league easy, and are generally free or very inexpensive.

But you won't find a fantasy college hoops game on any of 'em.

March Madness brackets? No problem. But an actual fantasy league, drafting players, following their stats... no dice.

College Ballplayers and Licensing

For the most part, sites running big-time fantasy games pay a licensing fee to the league or players association or both. Everyone's a professional, everyone makes money, everyone's happy. When you start putting college players into the mix, things get more complicated. Remember, the NCAA makes it near-impossible for college athletes to hold a part-time job, let alone make money for endorsing products -- even if the products have nothing to do with their NCAA sport. So any payment to the athletes is out.

Why don't the institutions license the names? They aren't usually shy about collecting money any way they can. But when it comes to using actual player names and likenesses, the NCAA and its member institutions have generally decided to avoid the issue. As a result, you can't buy a jersey with a specific player's name and number, college hoops video games identify players by number and position only, and the big fantasy sports sites don't offer college hoops games.

What's a Fan to Do?

Fear not, you have options. There are sites that offer a more-or-less full fantasy hoops experience with college rosters. Onroo.com offers a free game, and U-Sports.com has a version that may be deeper and richer, but that costs $19.95 per team.

You could also kick it old school by assembling a team of your all-time favorite players over at WhatIfSports.com.

And if neither of those options are appealing, you could always run your own league.

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