Abstract The cranked-quasiparticle model of Bengtsson and Frauendorf (non-self-consistent HFB) is compared with some exact calculations of particles moving in a cranked, deformed mean field but interacting via rotationally invariant two-body forces. In order to make the exact calculations manageable, a single shell is used but despite this small basis the quasiparticle model is shown to have a high degree of success. The usual choice of pair gap is discussed and shown to be good. The general structures of band crossings in the exact calculations are well reproduced and some crossing frequencies are given quantitatively though the odd-particle systems require blocking. Interaction strengths are not well reproduced though some qualitative features, e.g. oscillations, are obtained. These interactions are generally underestimated, an effect which causes the HFB yrast band to behave less collectively than it should.