A perfect record makes for a pretty boring Selection Sunday, apparently.
The members of the University of Kentucky's 34-0 basketball team gathered around a television in Coach John Calipari's living room Sunday to watch the annual selection show.
There was barely a reaction when the Cats were announced as the tournament's No. 1 overall seed out of the Midwest Region.
The team hadn't returned home from winning the SEC Tournament until minutes before the show began, and Calipari hadn't even taken his seat when UK's seed was announced.
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Freshman shooting guard Devin Booker turned to his teammates and said, facetiously, "Hey, we got a No. 1 seed." A few chuckles broke the relative silence.
Calipari showed up a short time later and grabbed a seat on an ottoman, SEC tourney MVP Willie Cauley-Stein sitting on one side of him and starting point guard Andrew Harrison on the other.
After the full field was announced, the coach talked about the draw. For once, he seemed pleased with UK's path.
"I was good with whatever they did," Calipari said. "I have, in my opinion, the best team and the best players. That doesn't mean you win. This isn't best of five, best of seven. It's one game. But as long as we're at our best, that's the most we can ask of these kids. And I'll be fine."
Cauley-Stein, looking exhausted from a hard-fought tournament and sporting a gash on his nose from the championship game, had little to add about UK's future opponents.
"I was half asleep in there," he said. "I couldn't even tell you who we're playing."
The Cats open the tournament Thursday in Louisville against the winner of Hampton and Manhattan, who play Tuesday night in Dayton.
Hampton (16-17) — winner of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament — is the only team in the field with a losing record.
Manhattan (19-13) — coached by former UK player Steve Masiello — won the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament for the second year in a row. The Jaspers played Louisville tough in their NCAA Tournament opener last season before falling 71-64.
"They're aggressive," Calipari said. "They're not going to back away. They're not going to be afraid. Steve has done a great job with that team."
With the annual reminder that a No. 1 seed has never lost its first game, the Cats' next foe will be either eighth-seeded Cincinnati or ninth-seeded Purdue.
The Bearcats (22-10) have played the last two months without Coach Mick Cronin, who is out for the season with health issues. They finished in a tie for third in the American Athletic Conference.
Purdue (21-12) finished in a three-way tie for third in the Big Ten. The Boilermakers were defeated 71-51 by Wisconsin in the conference tournament semifinals Saturday.
If the Cats win two in Louisville, they'll move on to Cleveland, with No. 4-seed Maryland or No. 5-seed West Virginia being the most likely opponent in the Sweet 16.
The Terrapins (27-6) were regular-season runners-up in the Big Ten and had won eight consecutive games before a loss to Michigan State in the conference tournament Saturday.
West Virginia (23-9) finished fifth in the Big 12 and was ranked No. 18 in the most recent Associated Press poll.
Calipari noted that he and WVU Coach Bob Huggins — a good friend — have had a couple of close games in recent tournaments. The Mountaineers won in 2010 for a trip to the Final Four. UK won the next season and eventually got there too.
The bottom of UK's Midwest bracket features No. 2-seed Kansas, which the Cats defeated by 32 points early in the season.
Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament champ Notre Dame is the No. 3 seed in the Midwest, while Butler and Wichita State are the No. 6 and 7 seeds, respectively.
Calipari specifically mentioned fellow No. 1 seeds Wisconsin and Villanova, along with No. 2 seed Arizona, as teams playing especially well down the stretch. He predicted that this year's champ would come from the pool of eight teams that earned one and two seeds.
He also added the unnecessary disclaimer that, this time of year, anything can happen — even to a team that's 34-0.
"You lose, you go home," he said. "Now you're strapped up to the chair. OK, you lose this, you're done. ... We have been in these dogfights, but it doesn't matter. All that aside. One game, one day, you gotta play."