BOZICH | The 5 Stupidest Questions Not to Ask John Calipari
As always, I'm here to help.
Here are five stupid questions that should not be asked of Calipari and his players – but undoubtedly will be.
1. Would losing a game ease the pressure and make it easier for Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament?
It's time for me to share a statistic: The last unbeaten team to win the NCAA title was Indiana in 1976. You know the horror stories about teams like UNLV in 1991.
The last one-loss team to win the NCAA title was North Carolina State in 1974.
Since the Hoosiers scored 38 years ago, teams with two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10 and even 11 defeats have won the championship.
But not a team with one defeat – not since the David Thompson, Tom Burleson, Monte Towe Wolfpack 41 years ago.
The average number of defeats taken by the last 38 NCAA champs is 5.2.
One loss hasn't helped anybody, folks. And I don't think Calipari intends to take five.
2. Some are convinced the Southeastern Conference has not toughened your team for the challenge of its final six games. Are you concerned?
Both the Sagarin and Pomeroy college basketball computer power ratings indicate the SEC is the fifth strongest conference this season, trailing the Big 12, Big East, Atlantic Coast and Big Ten conferences.
Joe Lunardi, master of the brackets, predicts six SEC teams will make the tournament. That is the same number of tournament teams he projects from the ACC.
CrashingTheDance.com, another respected tournament site, also credits the SEC with six bids.
Connecticut won the 2014 NCAA title. The Huskies played six of their final nine regular-season games against teams that failed to make the NCAA Tournament.
Did it matter?
3. Any regrets about your schedule? Should you have worked the Bulls or Cavaliers into the picture?
This is a trick question, right? Some form of a joke that I'm not getting.
Kansas (two-seed, according to Lunardi), North Carolina (three), Louisville (four), Providence (six) and Texas (nine) were all teams that failed to beat Kentucky.
According to Sagarin's numbers, Kentucky's strength of schedule ranks 36th nationally, one spot behind Virginia and three behind Wisconsin. Duke sits at 13th, but Gonzaga is 91st and Arizona is 58th.
The schedule was terrific. Move along. There's no story here.
4. Is your greatest fear that a team making a ridiculous number of three-point shots is the blueprint of a team that can beat Kentucky?
Auburn made 11 three-point shots against the Wildcats Saturday night. The Tigers were the 11th team to outscore Kentucky from the three-point line.
Not only did Calipari's team win all 11 of those games, they won them by an average of 18.8 points.
Keep trying. But you need another theory.
5. Do you have any concerns that your players are only in it for themselves and will try to put up crazy numbers during the tournament to impress the NBA scouts?
Calipari has been coaching egos since last summer. He's got this under control.
If you pay attention during his media sessions, you'll notice that he gives the answers he wants to give – and those aren't always answers to the questions that are asked.
Ask him about Devin Booker and he's likely to praise Andrew Harrison. Praise Karl-Anthony Towns and he'll rave about the versatility of Willie Cauley-Stein.
In a college basketball season of players behaving badly, the vibe around this Kentucky team has been sponsored by Disney. He took care of that NBA obsession with his combine last fall. He's a master at anticipating potential potholes.
Before the season, I remember coaches like Tom Izzo of Michigan State wondering how Calipari was going to keep all these egos fed with limited playing time and scoring averages. It's been his best work.
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