The buildup to the Final Four this week has mainly been about the Bluegrass State matchup between the Kentucky Wildcats and Louisville Cardinals. It's the first matchup between these in-state rivals ever in the Final Four.
Little attention, if any for that matter, has been given to the other semifinal game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and Kansas Jayhawks.
There seems to be more discussion and debate right now about whether or not Kentucky could beat the Charlotte Bobcats or Washington Wizards, rather than who John Calipari's team is more likely to face on Monday night if they are able to get past Louisville.
The 2012 Wildcats are undoubtedly one of the most talented teams in recent memory (at least from the perspective of an NBA scout) and are heavy favorites to cut down the nets in New Orleans.
Every member of their starting five is an underclassmen and is projected to be a first round pick in the upcoming NBA Draft. Anthony Davis, the Naismith College Player of the Year, is expected to be taken first overall and his frontcourt teammate Michael Kidd-Gilchrist could be drafted right after him. It's scary to imagine how much better
As talented as they are it's hard to imagine this team being competitive with an NBA team for an entire game.
This debate began earlier this week when Charles Barkley said Kentucky could beat the Toronto Raptors.
Former Maryland coach Gary Williams has a similar a viewpoint and said that Kentucky could beat the Washington Wizards.
Both comments seem absurd when looking at the talent difference between college and NBA teams. The argument has been made before that the best or most talented college team could beat the worst NBA team.
Two years ago, some people thought that the John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins led-Wildcats could beat the New Jersey Nets.
Before that Jerry Tarkanian's UNLV teams from the early 1990's were compared to the worst NBA teams at that time.
Orlando Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy made a good point that even though Kentucky has some NBA talent that even a bad NBA team has a 13 NBA players on their roster.
The Wildcats have nowhere near the depth to keep up with an NBA team, even if it is the Bobcats. There were many games this year when Kentucky only played seven players, with Darius Miller and Kyle Wiltjer the only players coming off the bench.
While their lineup consists of first round picks, including arguably this year's top two prospects, it would still be the 31st best starting five in the NBA. Davis and Kidd-Gilchrist as great as they are would not be enough to carry the Wildcats to victory over an NBA team.
Similar arguments were this past college football season that LSU and Alabama defenses were NFL caliber. While both had many future NFL players and first round draft picks, those units would have been the 33rd and 34th best defenses in the league by a wide margin, even with the weak defensive play in the NFL this past season.
Which team would be more competitive in the NBA?
John Calipari's recruiting method has allowed him to bring in a new match of one and done NBA ready players every season. There's no way he could have maintained that same level of talent each season without those players leaving early, but if he could that might be enough talent to field a competitive NBA team.
C: DeMarcus Cousins / Daniel Orton
PF: Anthony Davis / Kyle Wiltjer
SF: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist / Terrence Jones / Darius Miller
SG: Brandon Knight / Doron Lamb / DeAndre Liggins
PG: John Wall / Eric Bledsoe / Marquis Teague
If any college basketball team was ever going to seriously challenge an cellar dweller from the NBA, that squad would need a pro prospect everywhere on their depth chart (like the one above).
The 2012 Kentucky Wildcats wouldn't be able to take down the Charlotte Bobcats or Toronto Raptors, but a combination of their best players and those from this year's North Carolina team (if healthy) might be able to.
The Tar Heels had as much depth as Syracuse going in to this season before all those injuries started occurring. North Carolina would have been favored to beat Ohio State in the Final Four if they could have gotten past Kansas with a healthy Kendall Marshall. These talented teams could have met in a rematch of their December 3rd game that Kentucky won 73-72 in Lexington.
C: Tyler Zeller / John Henson
PF: Anthony Davis / James Michael McAdoo / Kyle Wiltjer
SF: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist / Harrison Barnes / Terrence Jones
SG: Doron Lamb / P.J. Hariston / Darius Miller
PG: Kendall Marshall / Marquis Teague
This conglomerate has at least 10 players that would go in the first round of this year's NBA Draft and everyone on the roster will likely be drafted and/or make an NBA roster at some point. While that backcourt isn't too impressive by NBA standards, the frountcourt has the talent and depth to stay competitive with a quite a few teams.
It would be hard to imagine this team not being able beat some NBA teams on occasion, although there are some people that would even make the argument that this team could make the NBA Playoffs.
Even teaming up with Thomas Robinson and Bradley Beal might not make that happen.