As usual, the night of Selection Sunday was mostly about arguing over which teams got in over the teams that got left out. It appears the consensus was that there were some real head-scratchers, but it’s not like the blunders ended merely at who got in and who didn’t.
Try Kentucky on, for example. The Wildcats had a higher RPI than Florida, one of the nation’s top schedules and beat the Gators two times out of three, including in the SEC tournament title game. Yet, when the bracket was announced, the Wildcats were a No. 4 seed and the Gators were a No. 2.
Kentucky coach John Calipari says he doesn’t understand it, either, though is quickly brushing it aside. The Wildcats may be the toughest 4 seed in the bracket and perhaps the biggest challenger in the East Region to stopping tournament-favorite Ohio State.
John Calipari joined The Dan Patrick Show to discuss the Wildcats getting a No. 4 seed, why Florida got a higher seed, the selection committee’s shortfalls, the first-round matchup against Princeton, what he would do differently in his career if given one mulligan and the outlook for his team in the Big Dance.
His thoughts on being given a No. 4 seed:
“I think we played well enough to be better than a 4 seed. I think we were ranked 10th today in one of the polls and our RPI is a 7. I think our strength of schedule is a 7 or 8, so it appears as though we should’ve been higher. But who cares? … The path is a little easier if the seed is higher, but it’s still hard. It’s hard for everybody.”
Making sense of how Kentucky is a 4 seed and Florida is a 2:
“You have to ask somebody on the committee that sat in that room and looked at it. Obviously, you know what I’m going to say and what a normal person looking at the numbers and watching the games would say, but we’re not the people in that room.”
What do you think they factor in? Personalities? Coaches? Fans?:
“My only thing is the comment is ‘Every situation is different.’ I keep hearing one of those. … Whatever the criteria, if something should be weighted more than others, it should be in every situation. Duke beats North Carolina [in the ACC championship] and they get the higher seed, Connecticut beats Louisville, they get the higher seed. … It didn’t happen here.”
Does Princeton’s style still give people problems?:
“Oh yeah. The tapes that I’ve watched, they’ve got good size, they’ve got a couple of good shooters and they run their stuff, which is dangerous. You can’t say, ‘Well, we’re just going to go inside and we’re going to beat them.’ … They’ve got two or three guys I’m watching that are really athletic. I imagine you’ve got guys on their team that have a chip on their shoulder that, ‘We’re as good as anybody in the country. Just because we’re in the Ivy doesn’t mean anything.’”
If he has one mulligan in his career, what would he use it on?:
“I’ve said some things to kids that I regret later, my biggest thing. People would think I’d say going to the Nets. … Obviously when I went there they sold the team and I got fired, but that experience helped me become a better coach and helped me prepare players to be NBA players better than I could’ve. … But I’ve said some things to players in a personal way and I’ve said some stuff to parents at times. I made a mother cry one time. And I go back and say, ‘Was it necessary?’”
Can this team make a run at the Final Four?:
“I told them this morning that I’m waking up at 5 o’clock every morning because I’m inspired by them. We have stories on this team of kids … guys that were left for dead, who were playing and are all-conference and all-tournament. Our young guys are growing right before our eyes. They’re getting better and better.”