Commentary

Pace isn't a problem for Kentucky

Simply slowing down the tempo isn't a solution for beating the Wildcats

Updated: March 15, 2012, 3:12 PM ET
By John Gasaway | ESPN Insider
Calipari with PlayersJim Dedmon/Icon SMIKentucky's championship aspirations won't depend on pace of play.

Today the Kentucky Wildcats will start what everyone expects to be a lengthy NCAA tournament run as the field of 68's overall No. 1 seed. When a team as strong as the Wildcats plays its first couple tournament games, there are certain customs to be observed in the resulting discussion.

For example, you will undoubtedly hear it said countless times that Wildcats opponents like Western Kentucky and, I am bold enough to presume, either Connecticut or Iowa State will have to "control the pace." The lower seed, it will be said, "doesn't want to get in a running game" with UK. The opponent facing coach John Calipari's juggernaut will likely be told by people wearing headsets that they should "slow the game down" and make it a "half-court" contest.

I don't suppose any piece of advice is going to turn you into a favorite instantly when you're facing an opponent that's 32-2, and who knows, maybe these young Wildcats really would start to get nervous if a team slowed the tempo way down. (Hey, it almost worked for Princeton against UK in the round of 64 last year.) But there's an important piece of context you should keep in mind these next few days. If you're looking for a team that truly excels at a slow tempo, look no further than these Kentucky Wildcats.