He substitutes by feel with regard to who and when to put his subs in the game. In the first half of the Michigan State game he put Ravi Moss in the game and Moss instantly delivered a three-point goal. Coach Smith said the half time score is the most insignificant score of the game. Statistics would not bear that out. For 2004-5, UK was 20-2 when leading at half time and 8-4 when behind at half time. But who are we to question the coach – he has won 87 games the last three seasons.
It's not uncommon to see Smith play 10-13 players in the first half. "I've never seen a team play 13 players," Utah coach Ray Giacolleti stated in amazement.
Earlier in a regular season game at Alabama, after falling behind 31-19 at the 3:56 minute mark of the first half, Tubby Smith called a time out. When they came out of the time out, Smith had a lineup consisting of Josh Carrier, Ravi Moss, Rajon Rondo, Bobby Perry, and Chuck Hayes. One's first thought was ‘where's the scoring coming from'? That lineup out scored Alabama 10 to 5 the rest of the half.
One of the more fascinating Smith coaching moves, akin to the Joe Hall 1978 move against Florida State in the first round of NCAA tournament play, was in the LSU game in the SEC tournament when he benched the entire starting lineup. The move was a positive one.
In the two overtime games, LSU and Michigan State, Tubby chose not to start Chuck Hayes at the beginning of the overtimes. In both cases, Hayes was strapped with four fouls. Customarily, most other coach's roll the dice. Perhaps Hayes warrior mentality on the boards was a reason to protect him. Again, that's the genius of Tubby Smith.
And speaking of Hayes, one has to feel for him, giving of himself to the Kentucky fans. He gave his heart, body, and soul to the UK program. And speaking of body, "I don't think I'll be 100 percent the rest of my life," Hayes said speaking about his broken back in the season. Maybe someday we will see Hayes sitting on somebody's bench as a coach.