BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Kentucky made its appearance at SEC Media Day in Birmingham, AL on Wednesday.
The Wildcats are the SEC Media's pick to win the regular season crown ahead of Florida, LSU, Auburn and Tennessee. It's the 9th straight year UK has been chosen as the league favorite. However, it's not a guarantee to win it. UK has only won it four times. It's becoming even more difficult in recent years as the league has seen more programs improve. "I didn't even realize--Rick Barnes and I are friends--I didn't even realize they had beaten us three straight times," said UK Coach John Calipari. "Like you go and a team we beat twice, once by 30, beats us in an Elite Eight game in overtime. This league in basketball. I think a lot of it has to do with the network because everyone's facilities, travel and all the other stuff is catching up and we're all in the same boat now."
Last season, the SEC got seven teams into the NCAA Tournament. Kentucky and Auburn were the only league teams to advance to the Elite Eight with the Tigers knocking off the Wildcats in overtime. Then, Auburn lost in the Final Four. Coach Cal expects much of the same. "I can remember we were getting two and three teams in and I said our goal was to get eight or nine in and everybody laughed at me." Calipari continued, "I mean we played last year--this league top to bottom. Wow!"
Kentucky opens the season on November 5th against Michigan State in New York City. The first SEC game is January 4th at home against Missouri.