By LARRY VAUGHT
NASHVILLE — For a coach who says he doesn’t worry that much about winning the Southeastern Conference Tournament, Kentucky’s John Calipari certainly was letting the swagger show again after Saturday’s semifinal win over Georgia.
Kentucky will play Texas A&M Sunday at 1 for the tourney title.
Calipari got the forum he wanted when he was asked about the NCAA selection committee not having all “basketball people” on it. He joked to SEC commissioner Greg Sankey that he had the “bully pulpit” before somewhat defending the committee.
“They’ve got a tough job. It’s tough to do this. What they have to do to pick this, and their job’s at stake. Literally, their family’s at stake. And what we’re all counting on is what is the criteria? Stick to the criteria. What is it?” he said.
Then swaggy Calipari took over.
“And all of you on this committee, don’t tell me you all have different criteria. Have the same criteria so that we know what we’re trying to do to get the best seed and all that,” Calipari said.
“I would tell you that, you know, I like to tease them and tweak them to let them know that you’re no different than anybody else, and if you become petty, it proves you’re not. So I tweak them, and Greg knows I do it, the committee, and give us a bad seed because I said this and this.
Reality of it is they’ve got tough jobs. They’re all good people. I know who they are. They’re good people. And I believe that, at the end of the day, there’s going to be some upset people. Just how it is. There are going to be some happy people cheering and going nuts.”
Wait. There’s more going back to two years ago when UK was a No. 8 seed and made the NCAA title game.
“My biggest concern is my own team and our path. Now, our path, as you know, because you followed us every year, will be the hardest path of anybody in the NCAA Tournament. Sometimes they stick the Lakers in there to get that going. Somebody told me they’re going to put Louisville back in the tournament in our path. That’s how it is,” Calipari said.
“We get a tough path, and that’s fine. It hasn’t hurt us. It’s been kind of exciting. Made the games good. But we will see.”