Crazy talk

Kyle Riviere
Weekly Citizen Sports Editor Kyle Riviere.

Larry Brown is a very smart man and when it comes to basketball, he's a genius.

He's one of the greatest coaches the sport has ever seen and is the only man to win both NCAA and NBA titles.

I have a ton of respect for his coaching prowess. With that said, last week, he said one of the dumbest things I've ever heard.

Brown said that Kentucky could make the Eastern Conference playoffs if they were inserted into the NBA. I would expect some Joe off of the street that doesn't know a lot about basketball to make such a ludicrous statement but not a basketball guru like Brown.

But this isn't the only time something like this has been said about this Kentucky team this season. At the start of the year, many people were saying they could beat the NBA's 76ers.

Brown just upped the ante and said that not only could they beat the league's worst team, but they could also be one of the Eastern Conference's eight best.

I think Brown and all those who have made these wacky statements before him have become the dreaded "prisoners of the moment." They're obviously living in some kind of paradox. At least, it's not the reality that I'm living in.

Full disclaimer, this is a great Kentucky team. They have a great backcourt headed by the Harrison twins, and their frontcourt is so tough because of their height down low with Karl-Anthony Towns, Willie Cauley-Stein and Dakari Johnson.

They're one of the best college teams we've seen in the past decade. With that said, it's insane to think that they could even beat just one NBA team.

The talent gap from college to pro is huge. Only the best basketball players in the world go on to play in the NBA. Even if a team is horrible, it's still filled with guys that were the cream of the crop back in college.

They are all full-grown men that are seasoned, mature and savvier than a group of college kids will ever be.

Kentucky could not make the Eastern Conference playoffs. In fact, they couldn't even beat the Knicks--who are arguably the worst team in the league.

Just look at New York's roster. Six-elleven Cole Aldrich was a stud center at Kansas. Cleanthony Early was a stud at Wichita State.

Seven-foot Andrea Bargnani is a seasoned NBA big man; Jose Calderon is a seasoned NBA point guard. Tim Hardaway Jr. was a stud at Michigan, Lance Thomas was a very good player at Duke and oh yeah, Carmelo Anthony is one of the best players in the world.

Even the lowly Timbrewolves would smash Kentucky.

They have two No. 1 picks in Anthony Bennett and Andrew Wiggins. They have guys that were great college players across the board: Adreian Payne (6-foot-10), Shabazz Muhammad, Robbie Hummel, Gorgui Dieng (6-foot-11), Chase Budinger and Lorenzo Brown.

He's up there in age but hey, he's still Kevin Garnett. They have a former LSU Tiger in 7-foot center Justin Hamilton, experienced scorer Kevin Martin and one of the best point guards in the league in Ricky Rubio.

To be honest, I don't even think this Kentucky team could beat their 2009 and 2011 squads.

That 2009 backcourt was tough with John Wall and Eric Bledsoe. Then you had DeMarcus Cousins and Patrick Patterson down low.

I think the 2011 team was significantly better. The backcourt was great with Doron Lamb and Marquis Teague. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Terrence Jones were tough matchups at small forward and Anthony Davis was a straight up monster down low.

The SEC has had a very weak year. Florida is always a top-10 team. This year, they didn't even make the tournament.

Tennessee and Vanderbilt are usually tough tournament teams; they struggled this season. Alabama didn't make the NCAA field either.

In most years, Kentucky probably would have slipped up and lost a couple of games.

Unfortunately, Kentucky beating a pro team is not the first time this kind of argument has been made. People are quick to say a great college team could beat a subpar pro team. Once again, this is crazy talk.

I don't care how great the college team is and how bad the pro team is, the pro team would embarrass that college squad.

You have to understand, just because a player may be struggling in the NBA or NFL, that player was a star in college.

To put it all in perspective, look at the 2012 national championship Alabama football team.

The only starters from that team that are starting in the NFL or about to be drafted are: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Amari Cooper, DJ Fluker, Chance Warmack, Eddie Lacy, Dee Milliner, CJ Mosley and T.J. Yeldon. That's just eight of their 22 starters.

I'll put it this way: some college starters are good enough to make a pro team. All pro players are not only good enough to start for a college squad but good enough to be All-Americans.

The 2001 Miami team was the greatest college football team that I've ever seen. They couldn't have beaten the 2001 Carolina Panthers--who went 1-15.

And I don't care if Kentucky finishes undefeated and wins the national title next week, they could not beat an NBA team. Period. End of discussion.