This morning, John Calipari got up, left his house, had some coffee, and went to work. Despite the doom and gloom surrounding the program’s upcoming NIT appearance, during this morning’s SEC Coaches Teleconference, Cal said that nothing was thrown at him on his way into the Joe Craft Center and tried to put the best spin on everything he could:
“Look, we’re coming off a national title. We lost six players. We had our best player injured. We were hoping to limp into the NCAA Tournament. We beat Florida and Missouri at the end of the year, but that wasn’t to be.”
What about the mood surrounding his team? Cal said that although he is disappointed they didn’t make the NCAA field, they put their fate into the Selection Committee’s hands after losing to Vanderbilt. Had Kentucky won that game, he said he believed they deserved to be in and would have been very vocal about it. Unfortunately, the Cats came out and played “tentatively” with no fight or fire. Now, the rest of the season comes down to pride:
“Do we want to play? Do we want to have pride? Do we want to fight or do we want to let go of the rope? We will find out real quickly Tuesday.”
Cal said that two weeks ago, the UK administration came to him and said that if the team didn’t finish strong and ended up missing the Tournament, they knew they wouldn’t be able to host the a first round NIT game due to the second and third round NCAA games being played at Rupp. Was Cal okay with that? “Absolutely. We’re not above the rest of the world. If this is what we deserve, then we’re gonna go play and see what we do.”
The NIT appearance will be very humbling for this group, which Cal dropped some hints may return more than one player: “We’ve got a good class coming in with the guys that will be back.”
Right now, that doesn’t make me feel much better.