What a wild finish tonight on ESPN between the Florida Gators and the Kentucky Wildcats in SEC conference play. On the one hand, it was just great basketball, but on the other hand, also some poor judgment and execution. It is easy to look back in hindsight, but as I've said again, it's the only way we learn. As humans, we have memory, it is the hope that history will not repeat itself.

The situation is that the score is tied 65-65, 11 seconds to go, 7 seconds left on the shot clock, Kentucky ball to be inbounded at halfcourt. Here are the last few sequences (with a few bits taken out to save the length),

Foul Before the Shot or Not at All:

So Meeks of Kentucky hits a huge 3-pointer to go ahead by 3. 4 seconds left in the game, Florida elects not to take a timeout (I would have, but that's neither here nor there). Calathes dribbles all the way down and with .6 seconds left on the clock, he takes a 3-pointer... but is fouled!!! Three free throws to tie the game coming. You can just see Billy Gillispie's face. He's thinking, "Why the foul!!! just .6 seconds left in the game... Just let him shoot it from there."

For me as a coach, it goes back to that old adage, foul him at halfcourt before he takes a shot and make him shoot 2 free throws instead, ball game. I know, a lot of coaches out there disagree, but if you're going to foul, definitely foul before the shot or not at all is my main point.

Free Throws Win Ball Games:

How many times have you heard that old adage, and every single season, it's come up with me personally with my teams and just watching games on TV. The usual reliable Calathes, who you can hear the ESPN broadcaster say had just made nine free throws in a row in the game, couldn't make the ones that counted most.

It's like what coach John Calipari said last year when reporters were asking him about the Memphis Tigers' free-throw problems, and he always replied, "We'll make them when it counts." Well, it is one thing to say it and another for your team to do it. Free throws win ball games, there really isn't anything else, that pretty much sums it up.


It was really unfortunate for Florida because they had played quite well, especially on the road, and especially since the whole Billy Donovan - Kentucky thing a couple of years ago. It was especially unfortunate for Nick Calathes, who had a career game, 33 points. If there is any solace both teams can come away with is that it's still February, with plenty of basketball left to play in the season.

If you like Billy Gillispie and Kentucky, then check out Billy Gillispie's DVD on his In Your Face Defensive Drills. Don't forget to check out the X's and O's Basketball Forum to talk hoops with other coaches.