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Speed Kills Kentucky, Which Loves Embarrassing Losses

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↵Oof. I had almost forgotten about Kentucky's brutal early-season loss to Gardner-Webb last November. And then the quaint VMI Keydets waltzed into Lexington and ran the Wildcats out of the building in UK's season opener. VMI won 111-103.
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↵While the high score makes it seem as though VMI shot the (flukey) lights out, that really wasn't the case at all. Basketball Prospectus' John Gasaway explains: ↵
↵⇥The Keydets did what they do: they pushed the pace. It’s not that they “ran,” really. True fast breaks were in short supply. Rather, Duggar Baucom’s team took the seven-seconds-or-less approach and shot the rock after one or, at most, two passes. As a result there were no fewer than 93 possessions in this 40-minute game.
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↵⇥This tactic needs a name. For example it’s different than North Carolina’s accelerated pace. I propose to call it stun and gun. [...] Kentucky was plainly stunned at how quickly the Keydets did so within each possession. ↵
↵It's hard to fault the individual talent on the Kentucky roster: the Wildcat offense was pretty darn potent itself, with junior Jodie Meeks (injured most of last season) going ballistic with 39 points in 34 minutes. VMI was the nation's second-fastest team last season, a major high-scoring outfit. You'd think stopping the break and closing out on quick threes would be central to the scouting report. Gillespie's team just wasn't prepared. Again.↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.