“Could Kentucky beat the Washington Wizards?” is a question that’s been asked many times over the past few months. Really. It’s a question I heard two strangers discussing in Bedrock Billiards just this past Sunday.
The Wizards, of course, are older and stronger and deeper. The Wildcats, of course, have more top 15 talent, and certainly more experience with actually winning games.
ESPN 980’s Kevin Sheehan and Thom Loverro have been debating this issue with these parameters: the game is at Rupp Arena, and the Wizards are playing for the third time in three nights. Sheehan has argued that the Wizards would win easily. Loverro has said that Kentucky would blow them out.
Tuesday afternoon, they asked former Maryland coach Gary Williams to break the tie.
“I’ll tell you, you walk into some gyms — and that would be one of them, Rupp Arena — and you better be tough,” Williams said. “Regardless of how good you are, you can get taken right out of the game with the crowd. You just don’t feel right, you can’t play your game.
“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. Because you’re gonna 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.”
But what of Nene’s strength and experience, Sheehan asked.
“He’s got to cover [Anthony] Davis, and he’s gonna be covering Davis next year,” Williams said. “I mean, Kentucky’s athletic ability is as good as pro teams. They don’t have the [same] basketball experience, obviously, as a guy who’s played in the NBA, and maybe not quite as strong as a guy who’s 28, 29 years old.
“But in terms of being able to run the court and find the open people, you know, Kentucky runs good stuff. They get their best players shots. And unless you play great defense against that, I don’t care if you’re an NBA team or a college team, they’re going to be very difficult to stop. Now it’s one game. It’s one game.”
Indeed. And it’s one game that would likely get better TV ratings than any other game remaining on the Wizards’ schedule. I’d be fascinated. I also tend to think the Wizards would win by 20, but Gary knows more about basketball than I do.
(First blogged by SB Nation DC.)