John Calipari always believed his team would find way to beat Wisconsin

INDIANAPOLIS -- At times last season, John Calipari allowed himself to flirt with the thought of a perfect season. At other times, he had real doubts.

By the time Kentucky reached the Final Four without a loss, Calipari's players had turned their coach into a true blue believer.

On Friday night in Indianapolis, Calipari told a group of high school basketball coaches he thought Kentucky would finish undefeated and later said he never doubted his team would find a way to stop Wisconsin in the national semifinals -- until it was too late.

"You know, it never entered my mind that we were going to lose," Calipari told The Associated Press as he walked out of the high school gym. "When we were up four with five minutes to go, I thought it was over. Even when Wisconsin made that run, I thought we'd figure it out.

"We never, in my time at Kentucky, we just don't lose that game."

It was the only time all season Kentucky's talented team came up short.

Calipari opened up about his thoughts on one of the best seasons in Kentucky history.

"When we beat Kansas and UCLA, I thought we had a chance [at a perfect season]," he said. "When we had the overtime games against Ole Miss and Texas A&M, I thought maybe not. But then we started playing really well."

Eventually, the guys Calipari was trying to protect from getting engulfed in the circus-like environment of an unbeaten season convinced him they could do it.

"I asked them if they talked about 40-0, and they said they talked about it all the time," Calipari said. "Here I was trying to take 40-0 off the table for them, and all the time, they were talking about it."