NCAA Basketball 09

Game review by
Brett Molina, Common Sense Media
NCAA Basketball 09 Game Poster Image
College hoops franchise could use a little schooling.

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The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

You may encounter some foul language when playing online.


The game's major sponsors are Pontiac and State Farm. Both are featured prominently through arena advertisements and tournament sponsorships.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this is a straightforward simulation of college basketball. Players can manage their favorite collegiate teams on the road to a national championship. The game is playable online, a feature Common Sense Media does not recommend for children under the age of 12.

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What's it about?

The college basketball season tips off on gaming consoles everywhere with the release of NCAA BASKETBALL 09, a simulation that gamers may want to relegate to the bench due to sloppy action. Players can select one of hundreds of men's college squads and guide them through \"March Madness\" en route to a national championship.

New to the franchise is tempo control. Teams are broken down into three tempos. An up-tempo team moves quickly up and down the court. Half-court teams slow the pace, milking the shot clock. Balanced squads execute a mix of both styles. To succeed, your team needs to maintain its ideal tempo. When outside its zone, teams will miss shots and turn the ball over more often. When you force opponents out of their tempo, you'll generate more steals and easy baskets. A coach's feedback feature dispenses advice throughout the game to ensure you're staying within your tempo. Most of the signature items of the franchise remain, like Dynasty Mode and Tournament Mode. Players can also opt to take the action online.

Is it any good?

The tempo control is quite clever. Players can really tailor their approach to opponents' tendencies. Where NCAA Basketball 09 struggles is in the overall flow. Players look very stiff when moving up and down the court. Graphically, the detail is exquisite. But when players make quick moves or attack the basket, they look rigid.

The game also suffers from a couple bugs. The animation is choppy when possession of the ball changes team. So if there's a steal or defensive rebound, the game tends to stutter. Referees also seem oblivious when players step out of bounds, because they never blow the whistle when that situation arises. The refs also rarely call fouls. While NCAA Basketball 09 sports solid depth and some unique new features, it can't make up for a lack of smoothness.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the game compared to the real-world counterpart. How do the two compare? How close does the game capture the real-life world of college basketball?

Game details

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