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John Calipari Arrogant Postgame Comments Ignite Internet Outrage — Did He Disrespect Notre Dame?

University of Kentucky Coach John Calipari gave a postgame interview Saturday night — as coaches usually do — after his undefeated Wildcats just barely escaped what would have been a stunning upset at the hands of Notre Dame in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament’s “Elite Eight.”

As of Sunday morning, Calipari and his team are headed to the tournament’s rarefied Final Four — but not before the coach has taken a beating on social media for comments in that interview that online college hoops fans blasted as arrogant and “classless.”

Why? After Notre Dame came within one missed shot of sending the game into overtime, allowing Calipari and his Wildcats to survive with a 68-66 victory in the Midwest Regional Final in Cleveland, Ohio, Calipari was asked if the Irish gave his team the “toughest test”of its 38-0 season so far.

Calipari seemed dismissive of the very idea that any opponent could “test” his team at all.

“No,” he replied. “We played poorly.”

That seemed to be the line that flipped the outrage switch among Notre Dame fans — or apparently any college basketball fan not rooting for Kentucky to run the table.

The John Calipari postgame remark even set off a new Twitter hashtag — #Classless.

Even retired women’s tennis great Pam Shriver got in on the Calipari-bashing act, albeit without the hashtag.

The “classless” tweets just wouldn’t quit.

Though some opted for even more blunt characterizations of the 57-year-old coach, who has helmed the Wildcats since 2009 and will now make his seventh overall trip to the Final Four, with one championship, in 2012, already under his belt — earning more than $7 million per year from the school.

But was Calipari really all that disperectful to Notre Dame? Check out these comments, made at the trophy ceremony following the game.

Even in the postgame interview with cable network TBS, Calipari remarked, “We didn’t play very well and Notre Dame played really well, controlled the whole thing. But we made the plays. We figured out a way to win.”

When Kentucky takes on Wisconsin in a Final Four matchup next Saturday, however, fans will have another chance to scrutinize yet another John Calipari postgame interview, hanging on every word.

[Image: Andy Lyons/Getty Images]