The Philadelphia 76ers are 0-11 early in the NBA season. The Kentucky Wildcats are the No. 1 team in college basketball, and crushed No. 5 Kansas by 32 points Tuesday in Indianapolis. Because of this, a lot of people apparently believe John Calipari's team could beat the Sixers.
Former Kentucky guard and current Phoenix Suns star Eric Bledsoe said "Philly would get probably, maybe one game" in a hypothetical seven-game series. A recent SportsNation poll shows that most states believe Kentucky would beat the Sixers -- even Pennsylvania!
It's a fun thing to debate because a) Kentucky is really great, b) the Sixers are terrible, c) the two teams will never play, so there's nothing we can do aside from verbal sparring. We hear this argument all the time. Folks argued Kentucky's 2012 squad could beat the Bobcats (R.I.P.). Some thought the USC teams of the mid-aughts could beat the worst NFL teams of that era. Ask Matt Leinart how he feels about that now.
While this is all mostly harmless fun, the largely popular belief that Kentucky would beat the 76ers in a seven-game series is still wrong. Here's why.
1. The 76ers are an NBA team
Philadelphia has 15 professional basketball players on the roster! Hot damn.
2. Kentucky is a college team
Kentucky has ZERO professional basketball on the roster. Not even one!
3. Really, this isn't that hard
Kentucky is an amazing college team, but the thought that any college team could beat any professional team in football, basketball, baseball or hockey is pretty ridiculous. This remains true even when the college team is as good as Kentucky and the pro team is as helpless as these 76ers.
Once again, two-time first-team all-SEC guard Jordan McRae couldn't make the 76ers roster. He'd be Kentucky's leading scorer this year.— Rob Dauster (@RobDauster) November 18, 2014
It isn't just true for McRae. The Sixers have a lot of guys who were recently great college players.
Rookie wing K.J. McDaniels averaged 17.1 points and 7.1 rebounds per game for Clemson last season and won ACC Defensive Player of the Year. Tony Wroten is averaging more than 19 points per game in the NBA. Michael Carter-Williams is the reigning Rookie of the Year! If you don't think Wroten and Michael Carter-Williams would smoke Kentucky's backcourt, you really aren't paying attention.
Kentucky's Andrew Harrison shot under 37 percent from the field last year. He wouldn't be nearly athletic enough to matchup with Carter-Williams and Wroten, and he wouldn't have a size advantage over them like he does in college. You can say the same thing for his brother Aaron at the off-guard spot.
Alex Poythress is a nice player for Kentucky at small forward, but he's still learning how to play the wing after spending most of his career at the four. He isn't much of a threat as an outside shooter. You can bet a 28-year-old veteran like Luc Richard Mbah a Moute would give Poythress some trouble.
The rules are a factor, too. Kentucky's big men wouldn't be able to stay in the paint all day in an NBA game. The Wildcats' offense would have to start manufacturing within a 24-second shot clock, not a 35-second one.
Response From Sixers
Response From Sixers
While the Sixers haven't won yet, they've come extremely close a few times. They should have beaten the Rockets with Dwight Howard and James Harden on the floor, but choked it in the final minute. They had the Bulls on the ropes, too. Chicago and Houston are two of the best teams in the NBA -- would anyone argue Kentucky would have a shot against them? Of course not.
SB Nation presents: How Kentucky will win the 2015 NCAA Tournament