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Kentucky's John Calipari mounts Buffalo charm offensive

You don't recruit a team of McDonald's High School All-Americas every year unless you're a really good talker and have charm coming out of your eyeballs.

Kentucky coach John Calipari has produced 24 first-round NBA draft picks over his past eight seasons as coach of the Wildcats, and this year there will be more.

Calipari's news conferences never fail to be entertaining. The Kentucky coach veered off on a tangent about Buffalo Friday while discussing his matchup against the UB Bulls.

A few excerpts:

Q: With the Buffalo kids, have you ever seen any of them outside of what you've been watching the past two days?

Calipari: No. I don't know if you remember, but when I was at UMass my team was No. 1 in the country, and we went to Buffalo. Dan Bazzani coached the team. He said, 'Come and play at Buffalo.' We played at Buffalo in their new arena. One of the reasons I got to - I like to talk food. I went to Bocce Club Pizza, unbelievable, big squares. They had Anchor wings. Have you ever heard of them? I said, 'We'll play in Buffalo. I'm going to have two nights of eating good food. I'm good.

We played. And I've always had great thoughts. I've had friends of mine who lived in Buffalo. Irv Saracki. Art Serotte was a high school coach for years and years and years, and stays in touch with me now. So I've always liked Buffalo. In August it's 76 degrees. The rest of us it's 110. In Buffalo, it's 76 degrees.

(Saracki was a long-time AAU coach and hoops maven in Buffalo. Serotte was the long-time famed coach at Buffalo's Grover Cleveland High School.)

Q: What do you think of the way Buffalo played vs. Arizona? They seemed pretty confident.

Calipari: If I played on their team, I'd feel very confident, too. The way they played, I watched about six tapes of the, and they remind me of my UMass teams. hard-nosed, tough, swaggger, chip on their shoulder. I'm a high major player, and they are. And my UMass teams went to, I don't know, four or five Sweet 16s, a couple Elite 8s, a Final Four, I believe.

And that's what I see in them. The ability to score the ball. They score 85 points a game. They play fast. But they're tough defensively. Theyv'e got those kind of players that are positionless.

So their record indicates what they are, which is they are an outstanding team. They're well-coached. We understand it's going to be a hard game.

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