Mike Greenberg Get Up Screen grab: ESPN Get Up

There always seems to be a need to tout a top college team — no matter the sport — and make the determination that they could make the jump to the professional level and not miss a beat. If you can recall, we saw sports media folks make the argument that the University of Alabama could beat the Jacksonville Jaguars.

And along those same lines, ESPN’s Mike Greenberg determined on Monday’s Get Up that not only could this version of the UConn Huskies play in the NBA, they could make the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Neither Jay Williams nor Seth Greenberg wasted any time in casting aside an argument that didn’t hold much weight to begin with. Williams wouldn’t take the bait, and Greenberg had no interest in listening to Greenberg’s theatrics.

He then suddenly sparked into a tangent about making a bet with Dan Orlovsky over their respective alma maters, which led Greenberg to claim that “UConn is an NBA team” after throttling his beloved Northwestern in the second round.

“They execute (like a professional team), but their talent level, I would not say, would allow them to make the play-in,” said Williams.

Greenberg chimed in that UConn would “have no chance,” and this is coming from a longtime collegiate head coach who oversaw programs like Long Beach State, the University of South Florida, and Virginia Tech.

This argument in itself is insane. No college team is beating a professional team — ever.

Taking a look at the current makeup of UConn, its starting lineup reflects a blend of maturity (two graduate students) with promising young talent (a redshirt sophomore, a true sophomore, and a freshman). This isn’t exactly a youthful group, but it does boast several players with NBA aspirations.

This situation mirrors past arguments about teams like Kentucky and Oakland. In college, experience can sometimes trump raw talent. We saw this when Oakland, a team with seasoned veterans, upset a Kentucky squad brimming with future NBA stars. And while UConn may have a bevy of future professionals on its current roster, that’s not to say that they could compete at the next level, let alone make a run to the Eastern Conference playoffs.

The Pistons, who are last in the East with a 12-59 record, boast a roster that includes college All-Stars like Jaden Ivey, Cade Cunnigham, Isisah Stewart, Marcus Sasser, Quentin Grimes, Troy Brown Jr., Jalen Duren, and Buddy Boeheim. They have 12 wins.

And we’re supposed to believe that a UConn team would be able to compete with the Chicago Bulls, who currently would be tasked with playing in a play-in game? The same Bulls, who have a roster that includes DeMar DeRozan, Coby White, Zach LaVine, and Nikola Vucevic. That’s not even mentioning key role players who would be the best players at UConn today. If we placed Alex Caruso on the Huskies, he’d probably be the best player in the country right now.

There’s just a difference between grown men competing against some of the top collegiate talent. The argument seems to make its way into sports media every once in a blue moon, and it just couldn’t hold any less weight if it tried. And it’s a tired one at that.

And the reactions largely reflected that.

So please, for the love of all that is holy, can we stop doing this? Won’t somebody think of the children at a time like this!

[Awful Announcing on Twitter/X]

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.