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John Calipari’s preseason SEC Tournament idea keeps getting worse

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John Calipari’s brilliant (in his eyes) idea to play the SEC tournament before the regular season, keeps getting worse.

After going on The Paul Finebaum Show to make his pitch to the public for a preseason conference tourney, Calipari took to Twitter to elaborate on his masterful plan:

I’m sure you’ve heard about my crazy idea for the SEC Tournament being played before the season. Got another crazy idea while I was driving.

Why don’t we play the games in the football stadium in Atlanta and set up two courts with stands split down the middle? 

You could play the games where fans can go from side to side and watch multiple games. You could even have the winner’s bracket on one court and the loser’s bracket on the other court.

He’s really serious about this, isn’t he? He wants to play the tournament in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium with two games going on at once on parallel basketball courts, with fans dividing the action. On one side: the loser’s bracket. On the other: the winner’s bracket.

But who in their right mind would sit and watch an SEC loser’s bracket? The current format can’t even get fans to show up for a game that doesn’t include Kentucky. Cal’s new preseason tournament would ask fans to sit and watch the equivalent of the current Wednesday night session at the SEC tourney.

He is all about it, though. It seems there is no convincing him it’s a farfetched idea.

On The Paul Finebaum Show, Calipari made his initial pitch, before going all-out with the double-court idea. Here’s what he had to say to the show:

You know I don’t like postseason tournament. If you lose in the first round of our postseason tournament, the SEC, what happens? You’re not in the NCAA tournament. You lost in the first round of the SEC. Well what about other leagues, when they lose in the first round? ‘Ah they’ve got more time off to get ready for the NCAA.’

What if you win the SEC tournament? Does it help you? It doesn’t do anything. It doesn’t do a thing! So I’m like saying, ‘Why in the world are we even playing this?’

How about we do this? Let’s go to Atlanta, get two sites, have a preseason tournament. Every team is guaranteed three games. The winner wins the tournament. That’s your November. That’s early November and everybody knows we’re all going to Atlanta and we’re going to have a ball. We’re going to play each other and we’re not going to have a postseason tournament, and you know what? The team that wins the regular season gets the automatic bid. And you do that.

Calipari at least acknowledged he sounds like he is out of his mind, but he wants everyone to at least look at it. He asked that, before we comment: write it down; go have a cocktail; go have dinner; then tomorrow morning, pull it out and read it, and ask yourself if it actually makes sense.

Will do, Coach.

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

17 Comments for John Calipari’s preseason SEC Tournament idea keeps getting worse



  1. winagain1
    6:31 pm June 1, 2016 Permalink

    As outlandish and unprobable as this may be, it just goes to exemplify how the motor of Coach Cal is always running wide open.. I mean, who even dreams this up in their head? Only Cal. Either way, he is special and not only do I not doubt he’s serious.. I just don’t doubt him. Period.



  2. BobKYCats
    6:45 pm June 1, 2016 Permalink

    Do it Thanksgiving weekend or during the holiday break at the end of December.

    Seeding based on the last season’s standings.

    Winner of the tournament gets the automatic bid and gets to play for seeding the rest of the way.

    I think it could work, but I doubt it’ll ever happen.



  3. Kentucky Ben
    6:45 pm June 1, 2016 Permalink

    I love the idea of it being played at Mercedes Benz Stadium that stadium looks awesome but not the double elimination it should always take the format of the NCAA Tournament



  4. whatwasthat
    6:51 pm June 1, 2016 Permalink

    Silly idea, Finebaum is right, when he says basketball season shouldn’t start until December, March madness should become April madness.



  5. madarchitect
    7:12 pm June 1, 2016 Permalink

    This is a great idea for everyone except a team that needs some big wins towards the end of the season to make the first four in.



  6. runningunnin.454
    7:26 pm June 1, 2016 Permalink

    Folks, he’s blowing smoke in the off season, and pulling your legs….in other words, he’s being Cal, and he’s laughing about it.
    The winner of the tournament gets the automatic bid; that’s what puts the madness in March.
    The thing we really need is to have the championship on Saturday. It is somewhat irrelevant on Sunday.



  7. rolandrmoore1965
    7:35 pm June 1, 2016 Permalink

    I like it for several reasons. It provides a guaranteed 3 games against RPI 150 teams early in the season. It gives college b-ball fans something to follow in November. It takes away the “bad taste” from the NCAA Committee that comes with an early exit in the post-season tourney. For example, there seemed to be a public outcry to include LSU in the Big Dance because of Simmons. However, when LSU ended so badly, there was no chance for them to make it. As a UK fan, it seems like it used to help to be in the finals of the SEC tourney. Lately though, it doesn’t seem to matter.



  8. serdi
    8:08 pm June 1, 2016 Permalink

    I don’t know where to begin. I have lived in 6 SEC states in my life. Kentucky and Vanderbilt care about basketball PERIOD. The other schools are kinda into it when their school makes a run.

    I think Cal’s idea is great. It is pushing the envelope. It is calling the Commissioner’s stand that he cares and wants to upgrade SEC Basketball.

    NOTHING has ever worked for building SEC basketball.. Other than Vanderbilt and occasionally a school or two that is on a run, anything that takes away from football is not welcome by the charter SEC members.

    So Cal is calling the league’s and the new commish’s bluff. Are you really committed to basketball? If so let’s do an off the wall and lead the way.

    All I can so is go get em Cal. You don’t care about the SEC and we should not in basketball either. They only belittle and downplay UK basketball accomplishments.



    • RealCatsFan
      11:05 pm June 1, 2016 Permalink

      Serdi, the point you make is Exhibit A on why I think UK needs to get out of the SEC and find a more basketball-oriented conference – preferably the ACC, but even the Big 10 would better suit us. We are a square peg in a round hole being in the SEC.



    • Sentient Third Eye
      8:08 am June 2, 2016 Permalink

      Based on the handful of Arkansas fans I know, I would say basketball is more important to them than football, by a little bit.



    • RUPPS.rhetoric
      12:30 pm June 2, 2016 Permalink

      RealCatsFan – I’ve often heard people say we need to join a more basketball-centric conference like the ACC or Big 10. People love to talk up the Big 10 in basketball and how tough it is year in and year out. That’s true for the ACC; but in my opinion not the Big 10. In 1987 IU won the title and in 89 Michigan won the title. In the almost 30 years since Michigan’s title guess how many NCAA titles the Big 10 has brought home… ONE. Michigan State won it in 2000. In that same time frame 3 different SEC teams have won a combined 6 titles. UK – 3, UF – 2, and Arkansas – 1. I agree that the ACC is basketball oriented; but there is this myth about the Big 10. It’s OVERHYPED year in and year out, but yet has only 1 title in almost 30 years. It’s time to put an end to this perpetuated myth that the Big 10 is somehow this great basketball conference. Sure they “care” about basketball; but results at the end of the day are all that count. UK is perfectly fine in the SEC.



  9. Megan
    8:08 pm June 1, 2016 Permalink

    I haven’t had my cocktail yet.



  10. davidpat
    12:14 am June 2, 2016 Permalink

    Actually, the SEC Tourney champs should not be more important than the regular season champions.



  11. Sentient Third Eye
    8:06 am June 2, 2016 Permalink

    The idea is actually just crazy enough to work. Having a preseason basketball tourney could be made part of the SEC title game weeklong festivities, which would have a ton of fans already collected in one place. It would dramatically improve attendance for non-UK schools and raise revenue from the tourney overall.

    The major sticking point is having the regular season winner be the champ. That means there would be no legitimate SEC champ because we don’t play a round-robin anymore.



  12. LongTimeReader
    8:19 am June 2, 2016 Permalink

    Another Cal suggestion should be something like this:

    I remember growing up in Louisville and during the summer they used to have an event call the “3 on 3 Streetball Showdown” or something like that, it was played at JCC and I believe it moved to the Fairgrounds. But Cal should suggest a huge 3 on 3 preseason tournament. Short games would keep fans around longer and lets face it, UK has Tai Wynard so his team would dominate.



  13. CPACAT
    9:32 am June 2, 2016 Permalink

    This whole idea is Cal’s way of jabbing at the NCAA for not adjusting our seed after the victory over A&M on Sunday in the SEC Tourney. He keeps saying that there is no advantage to winning the Sunday game, because it won’t affect your seed; then why play it.



  14. Rixter
    5:20 pm June 3, 2016 Permalink

    He’s finally gone mad. It was bound to happen.
    What’s next, Cal? Play the tournament on the asphalt courts in Shawnee Park??