Calhoun vs. Calipari

News flash: Jim Calhoun and John Calipari will never get together for a weekly game of poker.

The tired issue of the pair's relationship came up again today during a teleconference with Calhoun who's preparing UConn to face Calipari's Kentucky team Wednesday in New York.

Their basketball battles date back to Calipari's days as UMass coach from 1988-1996. Calhoun called it a healthy rivalry.

Here's what Calhoun said about their relationship:

"I don't have a relationship with John. I see John (and say), `How are you doing?' That's it. That has nothing to do with anything."

Calhoun is right.

Do you really care whether Calhoun loves or hates the opposing coach? I suppose it adds spice to a rivalry.  

Calhoun did say he respects Calipari.

"I love how hard his team plays. I love the fact that he puts his team in position to win. I love the fact that he puts his players in position to succeed. ... I have great respect for how he coaches."

Calipari had this to say about Calhoun:

"He gets his team to play with toughness and he lets them play. ... He has done a great job with that program."

Calhoun did take one good-natured shot at Calipari. He remembers Calipari as a brash young coach at UMass.

"John came from Moon Township in Pennsylvania. He said UMass was King of New England. He didn't know what chowda was with an A. You've got to know what clam chowda is before you start saying that, especially to a guy from South Boston.:

For Calhoun, a native of Braintree, Mass., it's chowda, not chowder.

For those keeping score at home, Calhoun is 2-1 vs. Calipari. In the last meeting, Calipari's Memphis team scored an 81-70 win Nov. 16, 2007 in Madison Square Garden.

Calhoun won both games against UMass -- 104-75 in 1989 and 94-75 in 1990.

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