John Calipari and Bruce Pearl had themselves a nice little war of words on Saturday.
Auburn lost to No. 6 Kentucky in Rupp Arena, but they gave the Wildcats a fight.
“I was at Tennessee, and Memphis was a smaller school in a corner,” Pearl, who now is the head coach of Auburn, said, according to SEC Country. When Pearl was with the Vols and Cal was with the Tigers, the two programs were at their absolute peak. They once played as the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in AP poll. “They hated Tennessee, and that was the beginning of John and I having a bit of a rivalry. I’d like to think that the things he doesn’t like about me are some of the things I don’t like about him, but I had great respect for him.”
“I want him to have to prepare to play Auburn,” Pearl added. “I want him to be pissed off that we beat them last year. They weren’t a great team and we made some shots and made some plays. It was a tough place to play and it matters if you can beat John Calipari at Kentucky.”
“Why would he think I don’t like him? You guys, it doesn’t matter what I say,” Calipari said, reportedly with a smile on his face. For what it’s worth, Cal’s jokes and Cal’s barbs are all both said with a smile on his face. “Did they beat us last year? Oh, they did? Oh. Yeah, I’m pissed off they beat us last year.”
As an unbiased observer, you should want Auburn to be good if, for no other reason, we can stoke the coals on this coaching rivalry.