With the Kentucky Wildcats taking an early exit from March Madness, everything that lead to being bounced from the Big Dance is under a microscope. Sam Gormley with Kentucky Sports Radio took a deep dive into what happens when head coach John Calipari does and doesn’t call a timeout at the end of games in “crunch time.” The data results in the story, which is linked here, just might surprise you.
In a nutshell, Calipari has had 42 games at Kentucky in which he could have called a timeout in crunch time. Of those 42, he’s called a timeout in 19 of them. The Wildcats have won just three of those 19 games in regulation with only one of those coming in the last seven years.
When Calipari doesn’t call a timeout, which is a 23-game sample size, the Wildcats have actually won seven times in regulation. Overall, Kentucky isn’t incredible successful either way — converting 21% of the time when taking a timeout and a surprising 43% of the time when forgoing that option. While Calipari certainly deserves a hefty amount of criticism that has came his way, what play Kentucky draws up and how the Wildcats execute the plan very well may need to be a larger area of focus than simply calling the timeout.
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