Lexington, Ky. (WDRB) - There's a lot of talk about the 2013-14 Kentucky Wildcats running the table to a 40-0 mark and an NCAA championship. The odds of that happening? Well, considering no team has finished the season undefeated since Indiana won the 1976 NCAA title with a 32-0 record, put the odds around zero.
However, UK head coach John Calipari nearly pulled off that feat with his 32-2 2012 NCAA Champions. His 1996 Final Four team from UMASS lost only two games and his 2008 Memphis NCAA runners-up also lost only two contests (yes, the NCAA vacated some of the UMASS and Memphis wins, but it still happened, even if it isn't recognized by the league).
At Tuesday's UK Media Day in Lexington, Calipari wanted to clear up some of the reports that he said his team would go 40-0 this season.
"What I've said for about eight years, I've said before I retire, I would love to coach a team that goes 40-0. Will that happen? I don't know," said Calipari.
So, that clarifies that. But…Calipari says he's not backing away from talk about a perfect season, even though he claims he and the team doesn't talk about it.
"The reason I like the mentality that every game matters is: you don't want to get upset by people that you shouldn't be beat by. That game matters as much as a North Carolina or Michigan State or whoever else," he says.
Understandable when you have a November slate that includes teams like UNC Asheville, Texas-Arlington and Cleveland State. Maybe the most notable game in November, other than Michigan State, is Robert Morris, who beat UK in the first round of last year's NIT. (Robert Morris may have replaced Gardner-Webb as the Big Blue Nation's unrepeatable team name.)
"Who doesn't want to go 40-0?" was the rhetorical question asked by sophomore forward Willie Cauley-Stein when asked about that expectation. "You have to put more work in than just saying ‘we're going to go 40-0,' there's a lot of extra stuff you got to do with it. Hopefully we're able to take on that challenge."
The challenge begins November 8th when Kentucky opens the season against UNC Asheville.