They did look like genins, almost to the point where they embarrassed themselves and the village. I'll defend Asuma by saying Itachi is arguably the most talented shinobi in the manga, so anyone would look sub par. But he most definitely did not go "toe to toe" with Kisame. Gai saved them from dying that moment. Kurenai on the other hand, should just kill herself. & not even with a wakizashi because she deserves no honor. Seriously, what in her right mind made her think she could attempt a B-grade genjutsu on a genjutsu master? Anyway, Kishimoto makes her appear more useless as the chapters pass. Instead of training she is daydreaming staring out the window, as if there isn't a secret organization named Akatsuki about to walk into Konoha and pwn everyone.
♥ of the cards!
No matter the genius, they all fall to mediocrity in front of the Uchiha!