Once again, ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation, we gather together to cheer on the Kentucky Wildcats as they gird their loins for a game against the Columbia Lions from the Ivy League. The Lions come into the game at 5-2, and are on of the slowest basketball teams in the nation when it comes to pace of play. This is by design, and is intended to nullify the athleticism of opponents like Kentucky.
Essentials for victory
Take care of the ball — With possessions at a premium, Kentucky will need to be very careful with the basketball.
Offensive rebounding — More offensive rebounds mean a higher per-possession efficiency. Kentucky will need to be fairly efficient against the possibility of hot 3-point shooting by Columbia.
Guard the arc — The Lions attempt almost 50% of their shots from behind the arc, and if they get hot, Kentucky will have to play well to keep up.
Try to speed up the game — It’s almost impossible for the Wildcats to speed up the slow-motion Lions, but they need to try with frequent intense presses and getting out in transition as much as possible.
Make threes — This is not a good game for Kentucky to lay bricks from three.
Columbia isn’t a particularly threatening team, but they play a style that will limit possessions, and that means that a sudden hot streak from three could make an otherwise inferior team very competitive. Columbia is smart, focused, and will want to make a stab at upsetting the Wildcats. They have nothing to lose, and UK has a #1 ranking. That gives them an exploitable edge, but probably not near enough.