John Calipari Tells UK Team Not to ‘Drink That Poison’
While this year's NCAA Tournament isn't really overloaded with low-seeded teams in the Sweet 16--there are only two double-digit seeds and that's happened quite a few times--the Big Dance did begin with two historic "firsts."
And, if you follow college hoops at all, you've heard at least one of these a million times.
We had the 16-over-1 upset with UMBC beating top seed Virginia AND we had a region that had ZERO top-four seeds advance to the regional semifinals.
And since both happened in the South region, the story quickly turned to how EASY Kentucky now has it as the highest remaining seed in the top left of the bracket. They're a 5 seed.
With all this talk of the door being thrown wide open for the 'Cats, I wondered how long it would be before head coach John Calipari stepped in and snuffed that kind of talk out.
Well, consider it done.
According to ESPN's Alex Scarborough, Calipari just flat out said to his young Wildcats, "Don't drink that poison."
Later, he went on to define the "poison" which is the idea that they now have an easy road to the Final Four.
Calipari said, "If they drink the poison, we'll be done on Thursday."
You think #1 Virginia drank a little poison before last Friday's historic upset? Hey, THAT glass has always been full and ready to serve since no 16-seed had ever beaten a 1-seed before. You COULD forgive the Cavaliers for thinking they were going to win before it started just because it had already happened 135 times. (Don't get me wrong...NEVER assume something like that.)
Want another reason UK shouldn't "drink the poison?"
In eight of ten Kentucky losses this season, the 'Cats were held to 68 or fewer points. In other words, if a team can successfully slow these kids down, it's survive and advance.
And that's just how Kansas State likes it. You need look no further than their snail's-pace Round of 32 victory over history-making UMBC. All the PURPLE Wildcats had to do to advance to their first Sweet 16 in eight years was score 50 points. They held the Retrievers to 43.
John Calipari will prepare his team for a grinding slog-fest and implore them not to look at anything or anyone but him and each other.
Too many weird things have already happened this year for ANY team to look past ANYONE.