Kansas City Star
Posted on Tue, Jan. 22, 2008 10:15
No. 1 ranking means a lot to Calipari’s Memphis team
Memphis coach John Calipari said his players were upset when they heard talk that KU should be No. 1.
When the No. 1 ranking went up for grabs after North Carolina’s loss to Maryland on Saturday, Memphis coach John Calipari figured his second-ranked team would gladly accept the top spot.
But he had no idea how much the Tigers wanted it.
“I was surprised how badly the team wanted to be No. 1,” Calipari said Tuesday. “I was taken aback by it.”
Memphis and Kansas remain the nation’s lone undefeated teams, moving to first and second, respectively, in the major polls. Calipari believed his team’s desire for the attention was fueled partly by a perceived slight.
“They knew what the television announcers had said,” Calipari said. “When North Carolina lost, no one mentioned that we should step up to the No. 1 spot. Guys were saying Kansas should be No. 1 and jump Memphis.
“These kids, they’re on the Internet, they know what people are saying and being written. I was surprised they took so much pride in (being No. 1) and that they felt like they really deserve to be No. 1.”
But do they?
“I told our team, this doesn’t mean we’re the best,” Calipari said. “Kansas might well be the best. Or it could be North Carolina, it could be UCLA or Georgetown. We don’t know. But we are the most highly thought of team right now.”
Blair Kerkhoff, firstname.lastname@example.org