Calipari defends Cats potential future schedule

Reported by: Dan Rieffer
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Updated: 12/07/2011 10:11 pm
John Calipari defends Kentucky potentially losing one of its annual series with Indiana, Louisville or North Carolina due to SEC expansion.

LEXINGTON, Ky. - John Calipari is doing his best to convince Solid Blue fans that Kentucky losing one of its annual series against Indiana, Louisville or North Carolina - if the SEC expands its schedule - is a good thing.

The problem is, some Solid Blue fans don't want to hear it, contending Kentucky should be able to handle annual games against the Hoosiers, Cardinals and Tar Heels regardless of whether the SEC increases the number of league games beyond 16.

With Texas A&M and Missouri joining the SEC next season, the conference schedule could expand from 16 to 18 games, possibly even 20. Calipari has said if that were to happen, he'd have to adjust UK's non-conference schedule in order to not put the program "at risk."

Calipari discussed the topic at length prior to UK's games against St. John's and North Carolina last week. But Tuesday night on his radio show, Calipari responded to a caller's question referencing the Indiana, Louisville and North Carolina series by going on the defensive about possibly needing to drop one of those opponents off the schedule.

Calipari followed up on Wednesday by taking to Twitter in defense of any future schedule changes. Calipari first tweeted, "We put up that poll to create dialogue & the BBN delivered. That's what makes our
fans so special. They are passionate about everything."

Calipari put a poll up on his website two weeks ago asking fans their opinion on which series they'd be most comfortable dropping if Kentucky had to lose one of its annual series with Indiana, Louisville and North Carolina.

Calipari then tweeted, "I'm the originator of playing anytime, anyplace, anywhere. I just want flexibility
in our scheduling to modify based on our roster.

"Dropping 1 annual H2H series allows me to schedule more neutral site games like the
KU, Duke, MSU classic. U wanna play 'em, we schedule 'em," Calipari tweeted in reference to the Champions Classic which included this season's game against Kansas and future games against Duke in 2012 and Michigan State in 2013.

Calipari's final tweet on the topic Wednesday appeared intended to ease fans' minds that any future non-conference schedule won't be significantly less competitive: "Our current format, if we play 2 more SEC games, makes it harder to mix in more quality teams. Trust me, u won't be disappointed."

Following Saturday's game against Kentucky, North Carolina coach Roy Williams was asked about the possibility of UK and UNC no longer playing on annual basis. He said that both schools survived during a nearly decade-long stretch in which the schools did not face one another each year. Williams added that he likes the rivalry and that he and Calipari will get together to take a look at the series' future.

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