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story.lead_photo.caption Kentucky head coach John Calipari talks to reporters during news conference at the NCAA men's college basketball tournament Friday, March 16, 2018, in Boise, Idaho. Kentucky faces Buffalo in a second-round game on Saturday. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

It is an expected part of Selection Sunday when the NCAA Tournament field is announced.

At some point after the teams have been revealed, Kentucky Coach John Calipari will complain about the Wildcats' seed or site. He'd like for his games to be at Rupp Arena. He can't help it, it is just him and he was especially unhappy to be sent 1,999 miles to Boise, Idaho, for the opening round.


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Only the wealthiest of the Wildcats Nation -- and there are many of those -- could make that trip.

Kentucky, though, has become the luckiest team in the NCAA Tournament, at a time when it seems to finally be peaking (sharing the ball always helps).

The Wildcats opened with a 78-73 victory over No. 12 seed Davidson and then knocked off No. 13 seed Buffalo, which had thrilled the nation by upsetting No. 4 Arizona in its first game.

Now the 'Cats face No. 9 Kansas State, and after they win that one will get either No. 11 Loyola-Chicago or No. 7 Nevada.

Other than a No. 1 seed, no one has ever had to beat that many higher seeds to advance to the Final Four. Ever.

Plus, they now play in Atlanta, which long ago was nicknamed "Catlanta" because the SEC Tournament is played there so often. Wildcats fans will have no trouble traveling 382 miles for this weekend.

The toughest region is the East, where No. 1 Villanova faces No. 5 West Virginia and No. 2 Purdue takes on No. 3 Texas Tech.

Boston is an amazing city -- in the spring, summer or fall.

It is under a severe weather warning that includes up to six inches of snow and sleet. It is so bad West Virginia left for Beantown on Tuesday instead of Wednesday.

If anyone had a right to complain, though, it would have been Chris Beard, whose Texas Tech Red Raiders have to travel 2,032 miles to play against teams who are all in the Eastern time zone.

No one pointed a finger at the selection committee during all the zany upsets. But when you look at where the 16 teams are now, it might be time for a little scrutiny.

The committee is made up of Mitch Barnhart, Kentucky's AD; Tom Burnett, the Southland Conference commissioner; Jane Cone, UNC-Asheville AD; Tom Holmoe, BYU AD; Jim Phillips, Northwestern AD; Jim Schaus, Ohio University AD; Craig Thompson, Mountain West commissioner; and Kevin White, Duke AD.

Burnett, Thompson and White have been met personally. All are good people. Honest and sincere and not directionally challenged, so it is hard to imagine them coming up with this: Both commissioners got one team from their league in the dance. The only ADs who have a dog left in the fight are White and Barnhart, and their teams were in no matter what.

The Midwest teams are Kansas -- from the midwest -- and Clemson, Syracuse and Duke -- all from the Atlantic Coast Conference and the east. Keep in mind Texas Tech -- from the midwest -- is in the East Regional.

The West Regional has Gonzaga, but Michigan and Texas A&M are not west schools, and definitely Florida State would not be confused with Fresno State. The Seminoles are traveling -- and yes, all the travel is on chartered jets but none of those can go coast to coast in two hours -- 2,258 miles.

The South Regional has Kentucky, but it also has Kansas State and Loyola -- midwestern schools -- and Nevada, which is so far west it would be on the coast if California hadn't gotten in the way, a state that went 0-3 in the dance.

This tournament has truly been March Madness and there's some chance of it continuing in all the regionals but the East, which is going to be even colder than Detroit was last week.

Sports on 03/22/2018

Print Headline: Kentucky has easy road to the Final Four

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  • 3rdhog
    March 22, 2018 at 8:07 a.m.

    one column closer to your retirement!

  • GeneralMac
    March 22, 2018 at 9:39 a.m.

    Wally is ignoring many things in his rant about the selection committee .
    The committee had #5 KY playing #4 Arizona in the 2nd round if not for upsets.

    Even if #5 Kentucky had beaten #4 Arizona in the 2nd round, their first game in the sweet 16 would have been against #1 in the nation Virginia.

    Hindsight is 20/20, but the selection committee sure didn't give KY an easy bracket on selection Sunday.

    It was only the ussets LATER that made KY's path easier.

  • GeneralMac
    March 22, 2018 at 9:40 a.m.


  • ASD68342008
    March 22, 2018 at 10:04 a.m.

    let's start from the beginning.........

  • Inquirer51
    March 22, 2018 at 11:37 p.m.

    Sure enough. Kentucky's road to the Final Four was a piece of cake.