Welcome to the official A Sea of Blue live game thread for the Eastern Kentucky Colonels at Kentucky Wildcats in Rupp Arena. After a stirring defeat of the Texas Longhorns on Friday night, the Wildcats tee it up again against a squad only 30 minutes or so from downtown Lexington, straight down I-75.
Obviously, Eastern Kentucky is not considered a particularly challenging matchup for Kentucky in terms of an upset, but stranger things have happened in college basketball. Well, I don’t know if NJIT upsetting the Michigan Wolverines, who were ranked only 16th, is stranger than the hypothetical of EKU knocking off the #1 team at home. Probably not. But whatever.
Essentials for victory
Defend the three — EKU is going to launch a lot, and I mean a lot, of threes. More than any team we’ve faced.
Take care of the ball — The other half of EKU’s strategy is to get lots of turnovers. If that happens, this game will be a lot closer than it should be.
Get the ball inside first — EKU, even in a zone, is not going to be able to handle Kentucky’s size at all.
Attack off the dribble — We have seen too much passing around the perimeter and not enough driving into the paint and forcing the defense to move. You don’t have to get to the rim, just move the defense.
Get it into the middle versus the zone — Like last season, Kentucky’s zone offense has come along very slowly. Get a man into the middle who can shoot the 15-footer and get him the ball. If the zone moves to cover him, multiple players will be open. This is really easy.
Shoot better from the outside — Pretty please?
This game will be interesting for the pressure that the Colonels bring. How will UK handle it? That will tell us a lot about them, because like Duke, the guards will try to deny the post pass by forcing players out on the court as much as possible before dropping into the zone.
Also, can UK guard the three? They had ups and downs doing this last season, and they really haven’t faced a team who shoots a ton of them yet this season. We’ll see.