The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

Gary Williams says Kentucky could beat the Washington Wizards

Chris Chase
The Dagger

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It's one of college basketball's great bar debates: Could the best team in the NCAA beat the worst team in the NBA? One title-winning coach says yes.

Former Maryland coach Gary Williams told a D.C. radio station that he believes this year's Kentucky Wildcats could defeat the Washington Wizards if the game was played at Rupp Arena.

"I think one game — Kentucky couldn't play in the NBA or anything like that — but one game at Rupp Arena, I wouldn't be surprised to see Kentucky win one game," Williams told ESPN 980, as transcribed by the DC Sports Bog. "Because you're gonna have five players off that team playing in the NBA, and probably playing significant roles in the NBA. And that's why I say that, for one game."

[ Video: Historic programs face off for NCAA title ]

One of Williams' former players, Laron Profit, told the same station on Tuesday night that he thinks the Wizards would win the game by 30 points.

I posed the question to 10 basketball fans and the answer was a resounding "no." Only two said the Wildcats could win the game. The other eight were vehement in their insistence that the Wizards would prevail. Answers ranged from "no chance" to "the Wiz would roll 'em."

Far be it from me to go against the opinion of one of the finest college coaches of the past 25 years, but I agree with the wisdom of crowds. If the Wizards knew the stakes and were energized for the game, there's no shot the team would lose to Kentucky.

Even a Kentucky team that included would-be juniors like NBA players John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins wouldn't be assured of beating the Wizards (assuming a cloned John Wall could play against himself).

I could see a scenario in which Kentucky could beat Washington, but it wouldn't be in legitimate circumstances. Let's say the Cats were catching them on the third night of a back-to-back-to-back and the Wiz thought it was playing the Raptors in Toronto, but it was actually the Wildcats wearing Raptors jerseys in Rupp -- then, yeah, I can see UK winning that game. NBA lethargy is nothing to take lightly. But not in a no-holds barred battle for basketball bragging rights.

[Related: Final Four rosters filled with former four- and five-star recruits]

Think of it this way: As good as Anthony Davis is, put him on the seven-win Charlotte Bobcats right now. How much better does that make them?

You know how people always say that winning a close game in the tournament is good for a team? This is a perfect example of why. Kentucky is going to have to listen all week to folks claim they're the greatest college team since Kareem was named Lew Alcindor. I don't care how mentally tough you are (and Kentucky is) or how much your coach tries to tell you it isn't true (and you know John Calipari is doing his damnedest to remind his team they still have 80 minutes to go): At some point, you can't help but buy into the hype.

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