Since he insists he "can name 50 coaches" that have had a chance to win a national title and didn't, Kentucky coach John Calipari insists "my friends and family" probably want him to get his first championship even more than he does.
"I'm at Kentucky, one way or another we are going to play the best we can every year. I'm not looking at it like validation, I'm just not, my wife will tell you," said Calipari. "I'm concerned about our team playing great and those guys getting all those accolades and that stuff happening."
Calipari knows how badly Kentucky fans want an eighth national championship.
"The Big Blue Nation shows up in Atlanta, I bet if we played in Sioux City we would pack an arena. I don't know how they would get there but they would get there. You want to do it for these fans," Calipari said. "I've never in my life been in a place that they are so passionate but yet they have a soft heart. They're not mean and nasty, they're not the ‘miserables.' They just want this thing to go well and they worry.
"They can't sleep at night, I've slept like a baby, these people are up all night and can't sleep. You want to do something for them, but reality of it is we can't even get into that. This is about our team playing at their best."
Kentucky plays Louisville Saturday at 6:09 p.m. in the Final Four semifinals here with the winner taking on the Kansas-Ohio State survivor Monday night for the national title.
Last year UK reached the Final Four only to lose in the semifinals to eventual national champion Connecticut. It was a disappointing loss, but not a disappointing season for Calipari considering his team went only 2-6 in Southeastern Conference road games.
"By the end of the season for them to put themselves in that position, I was ecstatic. When they dropped the ball in that last game and we all dropped it, obviously preparation was bad, there was something that was not right. I felt bad for them. I wasn't mad. I was so proud of what they were able to do with that season I can't even begin to tell you," Calipari said.
"I really like my team. I'm glad I am coaching these guys but the other teams that are in the Final Four, they all have good players or they would not be here. You are not coaching guys up. You have guys that have potential and they are playing to that potential. They are talented, talented players, every team that is left."