Ever since being hired at Kentucky, John Calipari has made it a point to defend the SEC and fight against the perception of it being one of the weakest out of the so-called "big six" conferences. He's taken shots at the "over-hyped" Big East, played up some of the SEC's younger coaches like Alabama's Anthony Grant, and last year predicted that "five or six" teams from the league would make the SEC.
With the conference set to add Missouri and Texas A&M, Calipari is now taking things even further.
During the SEC's summer teleconference on Monday, Calipari predicted that from now on the league will send at least seven teams to the NCAA Tournament every season.
Last year's league was really strong and prepared us to do what we did, to win a national title. There's no question about it. They can say, "Well, you won them all so it couldn't have been a good league." No, we were just really good. Our league was as good as (anyone). You think about our league and the teams that we had, now you add Texas A&M and Missouri. Think about what happens now. Now we start moving up a notch in where everybody is. I think, again, seven teams in our league, half of our league is going to be in the NCAA Tournament. That's what I believe. And I think that will be from here on in. We're going to have half and maybe more some years of our league in the NCAA Tournament. It's a tough league.
Since 1985, when NCAA Tournament expanded to 64 teams, the SEC has never had more than six bids to the big dance.
You can read the full transcript of Calipari's comments on his website.