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Who Calipari was responding to when he insinuated that Auburn somehow didn't believe Saturday's matchup was a big game is unclear. The Tigers beat the 12th-ranked Wildcats to earn the No. 1 ranking in the AP and coaches polls for the first time in program history. The atmosphere reflected the stakes — ranked opponent, No. 1 ranking in the balance, SEC regular season implications — regardless of the opposing school's na
Sitll, Calipari remarked that he saw Auburn students "charge the court, shirts off, and it's not a big game? OK."
“I hate to see them when they play in a big game," Calipari deadpanned. "Take your shorts off, maybe? I don’t know. And I'm not being disrespectful. Isn't that everybody who plays us? It's everybody who plays us. We're in that environment every time we play."
John Calipari on his radio show after Kentucky’s loss to Auburn:
“I'm not being disrespectful, but (Auburn) charged the court, shirts off. And it's not a big game. I'd hate to see them when they play in a big game. Woo, take your shorts off maybe!" pic.twitter.com/FvdNoy0Cv8
— Simon Gibbs (@SimonGibbs26) January 25, 2022
These comments have garnered heavy response among Auburn fans on Twitter, but this not-so-subtle shade by Marlene Navor, Auburn's director of communications for men's basketball, was as clever as any of them.
"FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, #AuburnTwitter News, January 25, 2022, COLUMBIA, Mo. — No. 1 Auburn at Missouri is officially a pants game via @joe10921618," Navor wrote in the form of a faux press release. "Auburn fans are encouraged to wear pants. The Oklahoma game is TBD. - 30 -"
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE#AuburnTwitter News
January 25, 2022
COLUMBIA, Mo. — No. 1 Auburn at Missouri is officially a pants game via @joe10921618.
Auburn fans are encouraged to wear pants. The Oklahoma game is TBD.
- 30 -
— Marlene Navor 🦚 (@MarleneNavor) January 25, 2022
Calipari and Kentucky have become natural rivals for Bruce Pearl and Auburn as Pearl has increased the talent level of the Tigers' roster. Since a 2019 regular season sweep by Kentucky, Auburn has won four of six games in the series. The first of those four wins came in the thrilling Elite Eight overtime victory in Kansas City in the 2019 NCAA Tournament.
Auburn Arena has been a tremendous home court advantage for the Tigers in the Pearl era, especially against Kentucky. Auburn is 5-1 at home against the Wildcats in the Pearl era. Before a 2016 home win over Kentucky, the Tigers had not beaten the Wildcats since Jan. 2000.
Auburn basketball is ideally set up to earn a SEC regular season title and a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Maybe then it will be time for some big games for Pearl and his players.
This article originally appeared on Montgomery Advertiser: Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari jabs at Auburn basketball fans