Every once in a while, a college basketball team comes along that's so dominant and loaded with talent, it seems unfair to the rest of the sport. This year that team would be the Kentucky Wildcats, who have ridden a crew of McDonald's All-Americans and other stud recruits to a perfect record entering the NCAA Tournament.
Kentucky's commanding run through the rest of the country has been impressive, enough to make it the favorite in the NCAA's 68-team field. However, former NBA and current SMU coach Larry Brown thinks the Wildcats could take it a step further. He said as much during a radio appearance Wednesday.
Larry Brown just said "I honestly believe Kentucky would make the NBA Playoffs in the East"— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) March 18, 2015
Now, to be clear, Brown is one of the greatest basketball minds of all-time, the only coach in history to win championships in both the NBA and NCAA. At age 74, he's led SMU to its first conference championship and NCAA Tournament appearance since 1993. Nobody here is doubting that Brown knows his stuff.
Still ... Kentucky not only competing in the NBA, but reaching the postseason?
Even in the Eastern Conference, where the No. 8 seed will likely settle in with fewer than 40 wins, that's an incredibly high bar to set. Look at the teams competing for those final spots in the conference right now: Indiana, Miami, Boston, Charlotte. They're loaded with guys who were superstars at the college level and have now settled into NBA careers.
This isn't meant to be a knock against Kentucky, which is indeed one of the most ridiculously good college teams we've seen in recent memory. Guys like Karl-Anthony Towns, Willie Cauley-Stein and Trey Lyles are top NBA prospects, and could soon be quality contributors on teams that actually compete for playoff spots. John Calipari has done an incredible job maintaining a steady flow of elite talent to Lexington.
None of that means the Wildcats would be remotely good enough to win in the NBA, though. On an NBA roster, pretty much every guy was a star in college, and professionals are more physically developed, don't have to deal with academics and get the myriad benefits of professional coaching.
You've probably heard all of this before, because it's not the first time that someone has suggested Kentucky could beat an NBA team. Except the answer to that was a strong negative. So now when we're not just talking about a game, but winning roughly 40 of 82? No. Just no. Kentucky could not make the NBA playoffs.