clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2018 World Cup teams as college basketball programs

IU basketball is England.

England v Nigeria - International Friendly

So, the World Cup starts this weekend! It will be exciting to see the United States face off against many of the other top–

(checks team list)

Wait, you’re telling me the U.S. didn’t qualify? They didn’t even get a play-in game?

Well, I guess that means you’ll have to find a new team to root for.

Hot off the tails of World Cup teams as college football teams, and World Cup teams based on your food preferences, here’s a World Cup guide based on college basketball teams.

For a cheat sheet, here’s my original tweet on the subject:

For further explanation, see my comments below for each team. (Sorry Purdue fans, I couldn’t find a good match for you guys, but sound off in the comments if you think you have one.)

Group A


A giant, vast land whose national team is overshadowed by a much more popular sport? Gotta go with Nebraska.

Saudi Arabia

Lifted this one from the college football teams article. Liberty.


Mo Salah leads the Egyptian squad and is a world-class forward, but if he has to miss much time with an injury, this may foil their chances to advance to the next round. Sounds a lot like Mike Daum with South Dakota State.


They won the first ever Cup and have had intermittent success but aren’t usually thought of as a major player in the sport even though they made a Final Four recently. That’s right, they’re Oregon hoops.

Group B


They also always seem to have one tremendous player, have come on as a powerhouse in the past couple decades, but international results, aside from one Euro title in 2016, have often been disappointing. Congrats Portugal, you’re Arizona.


Good track record, plenty of success, but have had a few embarrassing losses along the way? Sounds like Michigan State.


First time in the Cup in 20 years. Pencil them in as Marshall, who made the NCAA Tournament for the first time in over 30 years this season.


Perennially in the mix but never seems to be a major contender. We’ll say they’re Montana.

Group C


Longtime power in the sport, but fewer titles than you’d think. Kansas.


The Socceroos remind me of San Diego State, as they’re kind of far away geographically from most programs but then always seem to give higher-ranked teams a run for their money come tournament time.


Hasn’t been in the Cup in ages, and for a long time was the bottom feeder of their region? Sounds like Northwestern to me.


Wears red, overshadowed by others around them, had a Cinderella run to a title several years ago (Euro ‘92). Has to be N.C. State.

Group D


Won it all in 1986 and have been surrounded by controversy. They’re Louisville.


New on the scene and have beautiful scenery all around them. Fan favorite. Grand Canyon is the comparison.


Has had success recently and has made the Final 4 in the past. Sounds like Wichita State.


The Super Eagles have the most prestige in their area, have won three Africa Cups of Nations, and often tend to do well in international play. Let’s say they’re Gonzaga.

Group E


Longtime international powerhouse, many titles, every loss is a referendum on the state of the country’s team. If Argentina is Louisville, Brazil has to be Kentucky.


A perennial 8 or 9 seed. Seton Hall.

Costa Rica

The Ticos always tend to knock off a major country or two. It’s also a tiny country, so let’s go with Rhode Island.


A longtime contender with a few runs but never a team that you’d pick to win it all. Let’s say Kansas State.

Group F


Won it all recently and are always a threat. North Carolina seems like the pick here. (Also, Italy isn’t in the tournament this year, but with their penchant for flopping, they’re totally Duke.)


El Tri have made it to the Round of 16 six Cups in a row, regardless of how good their team is. That’s eerily consistent. Hmm, sounds like Cincinnati.


They always seem to end up in the toughest group and have plenty of country roads. I think they’re West Virginia.

South Korea

Fun squad that made a Final 4 once. VCU.

Group G


In a talent-rich soccer area, Belgium has gone under the radar and have quickly crept up to powerhouse status. They’re Butler.


No one’s expecting much out of their World Cup appearance, but hey... what if they do score a major upset? UMBC.


Tiny country in a hidden northern part of a continent? Let’s put them down as St. Bonaventure.


And we get to England. A country with a long, storied soccer history. A country where the local leagues are some of the best in the world. A country where the sport is taken very seriously, but the international team has disappointed recently, and there’s a long title drought. Who else could I be talking about except for Indiana!

Group H


Robert Lewandowski scores a ton of goals. Doug McDermott scored a ton of points. They’re Creighton.


Made the quarterfinals that one time. Maybe their coach is in line for a major gig soon? Dayton.


Wear yellow and have been very successful in the past few years for the first time since the early 90s. Michigan.


Often in the mix and have won several Asian Cup titles. But they’ve never gotten too far in the tourney. Call them Murray State.