“I wish none of us played in this tournament.”

John Calipari, as is his wont when conference tourneys are the subject of discussion, speaks truth to power.

Calipari always has placed the importance of NCAA tournament preparation and seeding ahead of any value in a league tournament trophy. His Wildcats (26-5) are seeded first in this year’s 14-team SEC field, having won the regular season with a 16-2 league record.

Kentucky, which has been seeded first or second in every SEC tournament under Calipari, will open play Friday afternoon against the winner of Thursday’s matchup between eighth-seeded Georgia and ninth-seeded Tennessee.

“This tournament to me is all about preparation,” Calipari said Saturday afternoon in a news conference after a 71-63 win at Texas A&M. “That’s why I don’t like it ending on a Sunday. When they throw you a Thursday game (in the NCAA tournament) like they did last year, that’s five games in eight days if you get to the second (NCAA) game.

“It’s five games in eight days for these young kids, and it’s not fair. When you play Sunday and they put you in the Thursday bracket, you better hope the team that you face on Saturday (in the NCAA tournament) is as tired as you and that they played on Sunday.”

With a 64-team national playoff, conference basketball tournaments, at least from the standpoint of upper tier teams like Kentucky, are as useless as tits on a boar hog.

College football doesn’t face that problem as of yet, but between years like this past one, when winning a conference title game (or even playing in one, for that matter) wasn’t a necessity for reaching the national semifinals, and the future enlargement of the postseason pool, it’s a scenario that has legs.

When that day comes, either there will be enough money in the pot that the conferences won’t mind sacrificing their own championships for the national good, or, more likely, they’ll keep the games anyway for the extra revenue.  At which point you can cue the bitching from someone like Nick Saban the first time he loses a key player to an injury in a meaningless conference championship game.  Not that it’ll matter.

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10 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, It's Just Bidness

10 responses to ““I wish none of us played in this tournament.”

  1. Russ

    Well at least John explained that he was just worried about the kids.

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  2. gastr1

    It’s all really killed Calipari’s teams’ performances. So many early exits that first weekend in the NCAAs! Or maybe not so many.

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  3. Greg

    To UK, SEC championships are just a stepping stone to what’s really important to them. When you dominate the regular season year in and year out like UK has under Calipari, it’s easy to see why they aren’t that interested in the SEC tourney. They have nothing left to prove in conference at that point. To the remaining mediocre teams in the league, it’s important because it’s a needed opportunity to bolster their resume’ for the NCAA tourney.

    I can see how playing through a conference tourney could impact some teams the following week. In UK’s case, it shouldn’t ever matter in the first round since they’ll generally be playing a 14-16 seed. That said, I could see this year’s Kentucky team losing in the 2nd round. Monk and Fox both have to be playing really well for UK to look like a Final 4 contender. If either one is off their game at all, UK could very easily lose to a 6 or 7 seed in the 2nd round.

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    • rpcpisme

      I think it would be in Johns interest to lose to UGA in the SEC tourney, if the Dawgs manage to beat UT. Think of the kids John, the kids.

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  4. PTC DAWG

    That’s why none of their fans will be there.

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  5. AusDawg85

    Didn’t the outcome of conference championships used to mean something to where you stood in the NCAA brackets? Or am I just imaging something logical from my childhood?

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  6. Bigshot

    Maybe if Calipari believes what he said about Fox he will let him win if UGA gets by Texas..

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