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Kentucky once blocked a free throw to try to win a game

Coach Billy Gillespie read the rulebook, found out you can goaltend a free throw, and said “Yes, I will do this.”

Have you ever seen someone attempt to dig themselves out of a hole and their first step is to start a new hole right beside the original? Perhaps the second will serve as a distraction so the first no longer appears problematic! Maybe it can act as an earthen step for them to climb out easier! Or, and I know this sounds crazy, it will leave them with two holes and further away from the initial fix.

That was Billy Gillespie’s coaching style in the 2008 SEC Tournament as his Kentucky Wildcats team faced elimination at the hands of their conference rival Georgia Bulldogs.

Gillespie prides himself on being a gamer. He’ll watch 12 to 15 games ahead of a single opponent during the regular season, staying late into the night to learn everything he can to ensure victory. That also means he knows the rulebook inside and out, generally believed as a smart thing for a coach to learn. Knowledge can be a dangerous thing though, blurring the obvious choice and, at least in 2008, allowing Gillespie to outsmart himself at the end of the game.

It was a move that would have put him in the same breath as Sun Tzu, Alexander the Great, or Admiral Lord Nelson when history tells of strategic genius. Fortunately for us, it instead put him in the collection of poor souls deemed worthy of discussion by the Weird Rules crew. So the next time you face a hole, ask yourself whether you want to get out of it in the obvious fashion, or in a way that we can goof about and animate over. Please, please do the latter.