Seeding just lets Calipari know his team has to deal with issues better than other teams deal with their problems

Dominique Hawkins (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

For the first time the NCAA Tournament selection committee unveiled what the tourney bracket would look like Saturday if March Madness started then.

Kentucky was a three seed in the East Region, a higher projection than some thought it might be based on UK’s recent play and before the Cats won at Alabama Saturday.

So what did Calipari think of the preliminary seeding?

“I said, ‘Put in marker. Permanent marker.’ Because, you know, there are times in the season I would say maybe we deserve it. There are times in the season when we were a little bit better than that, but there have been times where I say, ‘Really?’ That’s never happened to me before, where they’ve given us a seed better than we should have,” the coach said.

It has been an up and down season for UK, but winning Saturday at Alabama — where UK once had an 18-point lead — could be a step back in the right direction for a team that looked so good in November and parts of December but struggled most of January.

“We’re a talented team and if we start defending and we’ll get our offense together and teams that we’ve beaten already … we’ve struggled some at times, but let me say this to all of you: Every team in the country is having issues right now,” Calipari said Saturday.

“We just want to be better at dealing with ours than they are dealing with theirs. Every team. Tell me the team and I’ll say, ‘Yeah, well, let me say this. They just got this thing and that thing.’ Everybody has issues. You gotta deal with those issues better than everybody else.

“But, you know, I like the transparency (with the selection committee). I know there’s some coaches that didn’t like it. ‘Ah, puts more pressure on us.’ No, no, no, no. There’s transparency now. If someone moves on, we’ll all know why they moved into the top four. If someone moves out, you will be able to write why they moved out. No smoke-filled rooms. ‘I like them.’ None of that. It’s out there. Now we all know.”

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