Best college team vs. worst NBA team - who wins?

I think the NBA team is supposed to win easily. Anybody disagree? Let’s say Ohio State or Duke vs. Cavaliers?

In single game, I’d give the [college team] a generous 20-25% chance of winning. Even the Generals won a game every now and then.

In a 7-game series, the Cavs will win that every time.

We did this fairly recently:

Could Auburn beat the Carolina Panthers - despite the title, went into some detail on basketball as well.

From that thread, the Generals had a 13,000 game losing streak to the Globetrotters at one point.

I would take my chances with the best college team in 1981-82 vs. the worst NBA team of the same year, even in a 7-game set.

'81-'82 Cleveland Cavaliers (15-67): James Edwards, Geoff Houston, Kenny Carr, Ron Brewer, Scott Wedman

'81-'82 North Carolina Tar Heels (32-2): Jimmy Black, Matt Doherty, Sam Perkins, James Worthy, Michael Jordan

I mean, the Tar Heels had MJ and Worthy and Perkins. Talk about being freakin’ loaded. Worthy, Perkins, and Jordan weren’t just first-round picks, they were all top-four picks. They might have been a handful for even a decent NBA team.

FB is different than BB because it’s more based on size and skill rather than mostly skill.

IMO, the best CBB team has a better chance at beating the worst NBA than the equivalent in football (which is near zero percent, IMO).

If you played Ohio State vs. the Cavs right now by NBA rules I think the score would be something like 135 - 60 Cavs. Ohio State has great players. And you can tell they’re great because 4 or 5 of them might get minutes in the NBA someday. Meanwhile the Cavs are an actual NBA team.

That UNC team had 18-19 year old Michael Jordan, not NBA superstar Michael Jordan. Those are very different things. I think anybody who suggests that an actual college team would beat an actual NBA team any more often than on a total freak occasion, just because a couple of the players will be NBA stars later, isn’t taking the question seriously.

This discussion gets very silly very quickly. Sam Perkins as a college kid is supposed to be such an imposing challenge for James Edwards at age 26 that it’s going to make up for the fact that Matt friggin’ Doherty is matched up against NBA guards? James Edwards, who averaged 20 and 10 in college himself, and at that point was averaging about 15 and 8 in his NBA career (which was about what Perkins did through the same time period later on in his own career)? Kenny Carr averaged 27 and 10 in the ACC when he was there, and again, this was before NBA coaching and conditioning and growing up. James Silas scored 31 a game in college. These were NBA players!

James Worthy was a great, great player, obviously, and Jordan’s Jordan, but they were almost boys at the time for the purposes of this comparison. And their teammates in this hypothetical would wouldn’t just be slightly worse players. They’d be just regular old players like the best players you see at the local Y used to be, only they’d be matched up against an NBA team. It is, in the most literal sense, not a fair comparison. Those guys couldn’t play with NBA players. If they could, they would have. That’s how NBA players came to be NBA players in the first place. Matt Doherty would be eaten alive by a guy like Ron Brewer, to an extent that would far outweigh any advantage Jordan would have over his guy.

As a Cavalier fan, I will stipulate that the 1981-82 Cavaliers had perhaps the most inept team upper management ever. Even so, they had 12 NBA level players, while the Tar Heels had only 3 and Jordan was just a skinny little guy without the upper body strength he later developed. The Cavs would’ve won a 7 game series, especially if they hadn’t fired Chuck Daly as coach or traded Bill Laimbeer for a sack of magic beans, as they actually did.

The Tar Heels weren’t used to playing full games back then. They ran the 4 corners, remember? They couldn’t cut it in a best of seven series, 48 minute games, without that 4 corner crutch they relied on.

What about Cavs vs. college all star team? Closer game?

30 years ago in the summer the college all stars played the Super Bowl champs but the NFL team always won. The game was held for about 10 years .

While I agree that the probability is higher for basketball (vs. football), it’s still minuscule. Ohio State might beat the Cleveland Cavs once every 100 games or so. But that’s only because the Cavs would get bored after 99 wins against OSU. Oh sorry, THEE OSU. :slight_smile:

Let’s see… say the all-star team has:

Brandon Knight
Jimmer Fredette
Kemba Walker
Nolan Smith
Kahwi Leonard
Derrick Williams
Harrison Barnes
Marcus Morris
Jared Sullinger
JaJuan Johnson

I don’t know. The Cavaleirs really don’t have much right now - J.J. Hickson, Daniel Gibson and Ramon Sessions are probably their best healthy players. So on the surface it might sound good for the college players… but keep in mind that Luke Harangody, who was a college all-star last year and would have been on a comparable list of 10 back then, can barely get minutes on the Cavs right now. I’ll admit that Harangody was never thought of as an elite NBA prospect, but I think that’s a decent indicator of the importance of experience and age.
Plus as bad as they are, the Cavs have been practicing together all year.
And if the Cavs had some of their injured back - Antawn Jamison, Anderson Varejao and Baron Davis, it would be even worse.

If the above roster played the Cavs next week (without their injured), I’d still say it’s at least 70% likely a Cavs win.

Notwithstanding Jimmy, this is a fun game to play:

1972-3 UCLA (30-0, healthy Bill Walton and Jamaal Wilkes) vs. 1972-3 Philadelphia (9-73)?

And yet the Tar Heels lost two games against college teams.

I’d bet big money on Cleveland and not be at all worried. In a seven-game series I would fully expect the Cavs to sweep.

Okay, well, how about the Wizards, then?

At the moment without Nick Young, Rashard Lewis, Josh Howard and Blatche I wouldn’t put anything past the Wizards. At the moment they’re basically fielding a college team. Even with those guys their best player is a rookie (Wall).

But with Young or Blatche, I think even the Wizards could easily beat any college team 8 or 9 times out of 10. No college team would have an answer for Blatche and McGee inside; Wall could basically just toss up alley-oops all game.

Sorry if this is a hijack (but I think the OP has been answered). Also, I don’t follow basketball much anymore, nor do I follow pro football much either, so my logic might be based on flawed info.

I think that the chances are better for a college football team than in basketball. My reasoning is that in FB a fluke play can be a 14 point swing (I’m thinking of a play late this last college season involving Navy where a running back reached for the goal and was stripped and the other team ran it back for a touchdown. Admittedly, this kind of play is very rare.)
In basketball, such a fluke play would rusult in maybe a 5 point swing, and then you’d be back to college players vs. pro players.

Also, aren’t the conditioning requirements for college football closer to those of the pros than in basketball? Aren’t college basketball teams allowed to use zone defense where the pros aren’t?

So I think that there’s maybe a 1 in 100 chance of a college football team beating a pro team with a few fluke plays, whereas it would be less likely in basketball.

The NBA has allowed zone defense since 2001-02, but it’s more prevalent in college. There’s a lot more one-on-one play in the NBA, and while the zone can help mask a team’s deficiencies in college, NBA players would be better prepared to take advantage. The NBA gets the top talent around the world and basketball is their job. That does make it a different animal from college.

The main advantage the NBA team would have, even if it’s Cleveland, is size. Ohio State and Duke both play three-guard lineups and neither one has a true center. Ohio State’s biggest starter is Sullinger (6’9" and 261, according to his listings) and Duke’s biggest player is Mason Plumlee (6’10" and 245). You can sometimes get away with that in college. In the NBA, not a lot of guys that size are going to successfully defend a center and they wouldn’t even be big for a power forward.

Sure, it’s possible that a college team could get a freak fluke play and score. Only problem is the NFL team would already be up 70-0.

And the NBA allowed zone defense a couple years ago (I’m not entirely sure when but it’s allowed).

I’ve been watching a lot more college ball this year, mainly because OSU is good, the Cavs suck, and the Decision left me disgruntled. I enjoy the college game, I really do, but the difference in quality between the college and pro games has never been more stark to me than this year. Drop in on any random NBA on TNT game and you’ll see a fast paced game with swished jumpers galore, no real brain farts other than an occasional errant pass, and no passed-up shot opportunities.

I got a kick out of the NBA commentators working the March Madness games and making all kinds of assumptions about what players would obviously do in a given situation. Like the kid heading to the line late in the game for three foul shots, and Reggie Miller says “he should hit all three of these,” forgetting that these are kids under more pressure than they’ve ever been under in their life (he bricked the first 2). All the basic shots and decisions that you reasonably expect a pro to execute 98% of the time commonly get screwed up by the college players. In fact, one of the things I like about this Buckeye team is that they generally don’t overpass. If Buford or someone gets an open look at a 3 off a simple high screen, they’ll take it without hesitation.

It’s actually Miles Plumlee who is 6’10" and 245. Mason Plumlee is 6’10" and 230. Both would be giving up several inches and a lot of weight against a typical NBA center.