John Calipari’s Kentucky Wildcats went into a Saturday showdown with No. 10 Tennessee firmly on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament. Coach Cal knows his squad has some not-so-attractive spots on its résumé, but his message to the locker room is pretty simple: they control what happens next.

And after a 66-54 win over the Vols secured a season sweep for the Cats, Kentucky made quite the statement to the selection committee.

“Talking us out of the NCAA Tournament does not work,” Calipari said. “You either play yourself in or you play yourself (out). So, people talking, ‘Oh, they’re done,’ and I just said, ‘Look, don’t listen to it.’

“We lead the nation in attendance and our fans in that game helped us win that game. And so all I’m saying to (the team) is, ‘Don’t listen to all the garbage. And if you hear it, turn it off, turn your computer off, and just have good thoughts about this team.’ Because this team is trying to fight. They’re great kids. And I’ve said all along we were going to break through.”

After back-to-back losses to Arkansas and Georgia, Kentucky has won 2 straight. Florida, Auburn, Vanderbilt, and Arkansas remain. The Wildcats will want to get some momentum going into the SEC Tournament and then Selection Sunday. Perhaps a 3rd Quad 1 win helps in that quest.

Cal’s message to Kentucky right now is to just keep looking forward.

“We’ve had two losses that you would like to have back,” Calipari said. “But you know what? None of that matters now. Everything is us going forward. And so we have a tough game, we’ve got road games — two tough road games. We’ve got two tough home games. Play the games. Let’s see how we are. Let’s see if we get healthy. Let’s see if we get better.”