staff, March 2, 2015

Kentucky is 29-0, with a road game at Georgia and a home game vs. Florida remaining before the SEC tournament.


As people have asked most of the season: Can the Wildcats join the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers as the only perfect NCAA champions?

And, if they do, how would it compare to what Indiana did? That's what Chicago Tribune's Teddy Greenstein asked Tom Izzo on Monday's Big Ten teleconference.

Listen to his full response in the media player above.

Here's a snippet of Izzo's response:

"I don't know what you'd consider. I know the SEC isn't as strong, and I don't know where the Big Ten was then. I don't know who they played in the non-conference. There's so many things I don't know, but I know this: If you can go undefeated in '76, 2015 or 3012, that's still an incredible accomplishment, because no matter who you played, that pressure on it all the time is very difficult. I give (John Calipari) a lot of credit for how he's handled his team, what they've done. I just don't know how you compare the two, to be honest with you."

Makes sense, because it is impossible to compare the two – assuming Kentucky wins out on its way to the claiming the NCAA crown.

Greenstein followed up with a question about Calipari's freshman-laden team that is full of future NBA draft picks.

"I think John's done a hell of a job," Izzo said. "I'm not so sure I'm crazy about the way everything's worked out; I don't know what it's going to do for college basketball, and everything like that. But he's withstood the pressure, he's dealt with the young guys, and that's been great."

Izzo added: "If he goes undefeated, (it's) an incredible accomplishment, no matter if he's got 12 McDonald's All-Americans instead of 10, or if he's got 12 pros, first-round picks, it's still difficult to do that, especially with young guys."

These words received far more attention than they deserved on social media, and Kentucky beat writer Kyle Tucker, of the Courier-Journal, asked Calipari about them.

?I didn?t hear them, but Tom and I are friends," Calipari said. "I like the comment that Jay Bilas made: When you look at how this team has come together and how they share, I think that?s the narrative. How these guys sacrifice and give up minutes and shots to each other. I think that should be what this is all about, not how many guys have a chance to be pros. Other teams have really good players, too. I haven?t talked to Tom in a couple of weeks but he?s a good man and someone I consider a friend.?

Izzo wasn't attacking Calipari. He just isn't a fan of the current one-and-done rule, and that's what this is about. Come to think of it, he also isn't a fan of Twitter, which is where his quotes became a story.