While standalone college basketball video games have been dead since 2009, “NBA 2K21” follows the recent trend of a pro game carrying limited NCAA licenses.
Users will notice the title, which was released on Friday, contains 10 college basketball teams in its MyCareer mode.
Thanks to the tireless work of custom roster creators in the “NBA 2K” community, there are also ways to play with additional college basketball teams in an exhibition or dynasty format.
MORE: Full guide to ‘NBA 2K21’ on current, next-gen systems
Here’s what you need to know about college basketball in “NBA 2K21” and all the ways you can access NCAA teams:
How to play with college basketball teams in ‘NBA 2K21’
The simplest way to play with college basketball teams (but not real rosters) is by entering the MyCareer game mode and progressing your created player through the NCAA ranks. There are 10 schools from around the country featured in the mode, though being limited by the MyCareer story puts a cap on potential enjoyment.
Which NCAA teams are in MyCareer for ‘NBA 2K21’?
The following basketball programs are included with their officially licensed uniforms and logos:
- Michigan State
- Texas Tech
- West Virginia
Custom roster downloads for college basketball in ‘NBA 2K21’
Here’s where things get more interesting. Each year, after three weeks to a month of the game being out to the general public, people will begin releasing detailed downloadable college basketball rosters, uniforms and courts. This is something anyone with an Xbox or Playstation can access.
There are a few steps to follow in order to take advantage of what people have made, and it won’t provide a perfect workaround. Still, it’s pretty good.
Start a MyLeague session and choose to populate the mode with a user-created roster when prompted (other options will include the official live roster and one without injuries). Then search online rosters by content name using the keywords “college” or “NCAA.” A wide array of options will pop up, and you should from there try the ones that have been downloaded most often. The most popular option should work, but don’t be afraid to experiment with a few of them.
Make yourself the user-controller of every NBA team just before entering the dynasty mode. Once inside the mode, go to the relocation tab and download team designs from online creators matching each team; there should be uniform and court designs for every major school, so find those via search and download them one by one for each franchise. In other words, if the Warriors have the Duke roster upon entering the mode, then just use the relocation feature to fully transform them into the Blue Devils.
To create a March Madness playoff format, you can set all playoff series lengths to one game. You should also turn off trades and salary cap.
Again, it’s important to note that full college rosters likely won’t be finished until a few weeks after the game is out. It takes a lot of effort for people to finish such a project in their spare time. But for them and everyone else, it’s worthwhile.