Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 3/28/12
NEW YORK The debate inevitably comes up every year around this time, and with the Final Four upon us, it always makes for some fun bar-talk fodder. Could the best team in college basketball beat the worst team in the NBA? The consensus is generally the same that the worst professionals would still wipe the floor with the countrys top amateurs but invariably, someone will always take the side of the NCAA stars. This year, that someone was former University of Maryland basketball coach Gary Williams. Williams appeared on a DC-area radio show earlier this week and said that he believes this years top-ranked Kentucky team could beat the NBAs hapless Washington Wizards in a head-to-head matchup. "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 said. "Because you're going to 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." Wednesday at Madison Square Garden, Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, one of the NBAs most vocal coaches, weighed in on Williams comment. And as you might suspect, he shared a different opinion. I think thats ridiculous, Van Gundy said before the Magic took on the New York Knicks. Garys a guy who is a great coach who I have tremendous respect for and who hasnt coached in this league. The outspoken Van Gundy was able to bite his tongue once, and kept his answer short at first, but when pressed again about the issue, the fiery coach expanded on the college-or-NBA debate, with amusing results. Look, its absurd, Van Gundy said. People will say, Oh, Kentuckys got four NBA players. Yeah, well the other teams got 13. Somebody asked (Magic guard) J.J. (Redick) a couple years ago the difference, and thats what he said. You play in the ACC and a good team might have two or three NBA players, then you go to the NBA and everybodys an NBA player. Of course, weve seen upsets before though a 16-seed has never beaten a 1-seed, and thats the kind of upset were talking about here so he cant totally rule out a UK upset, can he? Even at Rupp Arena, like Williams theorized? Could anything happen on a one night thing? Van Gundy said. I suppose. You have major upsets all the time. Maybe. But would be rare, and in a series it would be a joke. It wouldnt be close. Thats just the way it is. The Wildcats have a number of cant-miss NBA prospects, including two star freshmen in big man Anthony Davis, likely the No. 1 pick in this summer's draft, and guard Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who could very well follow him at No. 2. Three more Kentucky underclassmen Terrence Jones, Doron Lamb and Marquis Teague are projected as potential first-rounders this summer should they decide to leave school early, and senior guard Darius Miller could be a second-round pick. But its doubtful that theyre good enough to beat a bumbling NBA squad like the Wizards (11-38), Bobcats (7-40) or Hornets (12-37). John Caliparis got a lot of talent; he does not have 13 NBA players, Van Gundy said. He just doesnt. And even if all those guys all are (NBA players), theyre NBA rookies. When has that ever been a success in the NBA? No, theyre not going to win. Van Gundy made it clear, though, that his remarks werent meant as a slight at Kentucky, who faces in-state rival Louisville in a national semifinal on Saturday in New Orleans. I dont understand why that even matters, he said. Why do people bring that up? Just celebrate Kentucky and Ohio State and Louisville and Kansas for what theyve done. Theyre great college teams. Those guys are great college players and theyre going to the Final Four. Just celebrate them for that. Just dont celebrate them too much. Theyre great at their level, Van Gundy said, but lets not get ridiculous. Follow Sam Gardner on Twitter: @sam_gardner
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