In an old-fashioned, tradition-rich league like the SEC, winning the conference is supposed to mean something. But Kentucky’s John Calipari has proven time and again that he understands the current lay of the land in basketball on a national perspective as well as anyone.
And that current landscape means NCAA Tournament seeding is more important than conference championship banners. Especially at a school like UK.
For that reason, Calipari’s in favor of an SEC hoops schedule that would match up the stronger teams against the stronger teams and the weaker teams against the weaker teams each year:
“Get your best teams in a group and let them place twice. Have your teams that are struggling or rebuilding play twice so that nobody is overwhelmed and your conference RPI is now off the charts…
(And if that means an average team could capture the league crown?) Is that what it’s about, who wins the league or the league tournament? Or is it about your seed in the NCAA Tournament? How many teams do we want in the NCAA Tournament? Do you want three or four, or do you want six or seven? If you want six or seven, this scheduling matters.”
Florida’s Billy Donovan pointed out that Coach Cal’s plan would require projecting which teams would be good or bad in a given year, but he also admitted: “Anything you throw out right now model-wise you’re going to be able to poke holes in it and say is not right.”