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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Sweet 16 is Where Calipari Thrives


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UK is facing quite the challenge on Friday night in Memphis.  UCLA could very easily win the national title, has probably the best point guard in the country and more offensive weapons that any other team in the country.  They already own a win over UK on the Rupp Arena floor too.  I think even with UK having played the #1 overall seed in 2011 in Ohio State that this will be UK’s toughest challenge in a Sweet 16 game in the Calipari era.

Now, why should we be optimistic?  Well I think one under-reported angle is John Calipari’s success when given time to prepare.  Just take a look at Cal’s results in Sweet 16 games in his career:

2015: #1 Kentucky 78, #5 West Virginia 39
2014: #8 Kentucky 74, #4 Louisville 69
2012: #1 Kentucky 102, #4 Indiana 90
2011: #4 Kentucky 62, #1 Ohio State 60
2010: #1 Kentucky 62, #12 Cornell 45

2009: #3 Missouri 102, #2 Memphis 91
2008: #1 Memphis 92, #5 Michigan St 74
2007: #2 Memphis 65, #3 Texas A&M 64
2006: #1 Memphis 80, #13 Bradley 64

1996: #1 UMASS 79, #12 Arkansas 63
1995: #2 UMASS 76, #6 Tulsa 51
1992: #2 Kentucky 87, #3 UMASS 77

Calipari absolutely kills it in the Sweet 16.  A total of 10-2 with an average margin of victory of 15.1 points per game.  Look how this compares to each round of the tournament:

1st Round: 17-1 (94.4%)
2nd Round: 13-4 (76.5%)
Sweet 16: 10-2 (83.3%)
Elite 8: 6-4 (60.0%)
Final 4: 3-3 (50.0%)
Championship Games: 1-2 (33.3%)

So, when given 4+ days to prepare Calpari is 30-6 while with just 1 day in between games he is 20-10.  It seems that Pitino always got the reputation to dominate when given days to prepare but Calipari has been just as dominant, especially at Kentucky.  I don’t know if the matchups look good on the floor but I think one clear advantage the Cats have is on the sidelines.  Calipari will have a great gameplan to try beat the Bruins.  The game will be decided whether the Cats can execute that plan.

Article written by Bryan the Intern

7 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Sweet 16 is Where Calipari Thrives

  1. BigBlueBasketballs
    8:21 am March 21, 2017 Permalink

    This is excellent. Definitely advantage Wildcats.

  2. catsarerunnin
    9:03 am March 21, 2017 Permalink

    It’s just a damn shame that he can’t coach. We should have more titles or a title every year…..(sarcasm)

  3. SoCalCat
    9:39 am March 21, 2017 Permalink

    I do find it interesting Cal spent time this season indicating he was handing the reigns off to his assistants more. Since he usually does things with a reason, I couldn’t tell if it was to lessen complaints that he was off doing personal things during the season, if he thought the team wasn’t going to go far and he needed help shouldering the blame, or if he was getting just getting the assistants visibility on their efforts behind the scenes.

  4. Wildcat Sheli
    10:31 am March 21, 2017 Permalink

    We have never gone 2 years under Cal without going to the Final Four! By the stats, it’s time to go back!

    One thing that will help, should (when!) we advance to play UNC (should they advance), is that our coaches already mapped out a winning strategy. Of course, there would be adjustments, but it would have to make preparing better with barely over a day.

  5. nadroj
    12:35 pm March 21, 2017 Permalink

    Also important to remember: those sweet 16 wins were mostly against unexceptional coaches (excepting Pitino in 1992 and 2014, and Izzo in 2008). And damned if UCLA doesn’t have a totally unexceptional coach. I wouldn’t trust Alford to come up with a good game plan, or to be able to adapt on the fly if things aren’t going UCLA’s way. We definitely have the coaching advantage in this game.

    • catsarerunnin
      1:45 pm March 21, 2017 Permalink

      Yes he only wins against unexceptional coaches. Good point…

  6. dballrb
    2:45 pm March 21, 2017 Permalink

    If we advance it could be Butler also..stats r good to look at but that’s why they play the games….No,not a troll either b4 that starts,Ucla will be a very hard game,glad we are underdogs,more motivation.