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Opinion

Can the Duke Blue Devils Beat the Cleveland Cavaliers?

December 15, 2018
Micah Sweet

Milwaukee, Wisconson, United States

Recently, there have been debates regarding whether a college-level sports team could beat a pro team.

My conjecture is that these discussions are crazy—there is no chance any college team would win even one game against a professional team.

To start, I’ll pit an NFL team against a college football team. In the NFL, the average weight of a player is 246.9 pounds. Meanwhile, the average NCAA Division I football player is only 232 pounds. When comparing, you should also keep in mind that NFL players are generally faster and can jump higher than college players. Not to mention, this specific argument does not compare the average NFL team versus the average college team. This comparison is from data of the worst of the NFL versus the best of college football. Think about it this way: In football, there are fifty-two players on each team. Even if the college team had 10 star players who are clearly better than many pro players, there are still forty-two other teammates that are nowhere near the caliber of a pro player. In my mind, there will never be an NFL team so substandard in which they could lose one game to even an incredible college team.

In the past month, people have been talking about the Duke men’s basketball team and whether its athletes could defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers. Duke is arguably the best team in college basketball despite their recent loss to Gonzaga, while the Cavs are quite unanimously agreed to be one of, if not, NBA’s worst team. I can somewhat understand the argument that Duke, at full strength, could win against the Cavs playing at their worst, but that still seems to be a large stretch.

First off, if both teams played by NBA rules, Duke would have six fewer seconds per possession due to the NBA’s shorter shot clock. This seemingly minor change would easily mess with Duke’s offense and the team’s ability to find good shots. Duke’s current team has 4 star players who will most likely be chosen in the 2019 NBA draft: RJ Barrett, Zion Williamson, Cam Reddish, and Tre Jones. These four players certainly have the potential to be great NBA players but are currently, at most, only on-par with four mediocre NBA players. Even if these four college players have incredible games and are able to play 35-plus minutes, the other players on the Duke team are not within the realm of athletes playing for the NBA.

When claiming that the Duke Blue Devils could beat the Cavs, it is also important to consider the statistics. The Cavs have the 8th best three-point-percentage in the NBA, along with an average of 104.4 points per game. Meanwhile, the Blue Devils average 92 points per game against college level defenses.

These statistics, combined with the higher standards that professional-level rules necessitate, prove how small of a chance that Duke, or any other college team, would have in defeating a professional team, let alone the Cavaliers.

Micah Sweet is an Aleph from Wisconsin Region who loves to swim, watch sports, and laugh with friends.

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