NASHVILLE — John Calipari has won three SEC tournament titles in the past six years, but that doesn’t mean he likes the current system.
A rough schedule — teams must win at least three days in a row to take the title — has Calipari worried about his Kentucky squad’s health before next week’s national tournament.
“One of the reasons I don’t like conference tournaments: It hasn’t seemed to improve our seed if we do well, and there are games Friday, Saturday, Sunday,” Calipari said at Belmont’s Curb Center on Thursday afternoon. “There’s nothing we do all year that’s Friday, Saturday, Sunday. The NCAA Tournament is a game, a day off, a game.”
If the Wildcats win this year’s tournament on Sunday, they must recover physically by their first NCAA game at the end of next week.
Thursday, Calipari cut short a mandatory team appearance at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena because he felt it “wasn’t needed.” But the coach declined to propose any big changes to the current tournament structure.
“It’s all good stuff,” he said. “The SEC has done a good job. I love this venue. I love Atlanta. They’re great venues. (Future host city) St. Louis is fine. I like St. Louis.”
One advantage of the current setup: Kentucky fans fill the seats for every Wildcats game to create a “home” atmosphere.
But Calipari wasn’t counting on that to get his team to the finish line.
“We’ve had support in games we lost on the road,” he said.
Kentucky tips off vs. either Ole Miss or Alabama on Friday at 7 p.m. ET (SEC Network).