VMI had a good coaching strategy going in. There was no way they could compete with UK inside, so their coach said he wanted the team to shoot 50 three-pointers. VMI ended up shooting only 31, but they hit 14 of them.
VMI plays that way all year. VMI shot 1,045 three-pointers last year, while the other teams they played shot only 695. VMI ended the year leading the entire nation in scoring.
Less discussed, but just as important, is the fact that VMI also led the nation in steals. VMI gives different looks on defense, using a box and 1, 3-quarter court trap, half-court trap and full-court presses to rattle the other team and force them to play at VMI's speed.
In the game against UK, VMI employed that philosophy and pressured Kentucky's guards. UK had so many turnovers, that they never could really focus on getting Patrick Patterson the ball.
VMI played fast all year last year, and they still had a losing record, going just 14 and 15. So how did they go into Rupp Arena and come away with a win? I think Kentucky's lack of a point guard and VMI executing on its strategy was vitally important. But perhaps more than anything, the key to the victory was VMI's coach showing the video from last year of Gardner Webb beating Kentucky.
So although Kentucky had 22,000 fans, the huge arena, a light show, fireworks and all that, even though Kentucky got a bunch of calls and had a series of slam dunks, VMI gladly traded that for the opportunity to quickly advance the ball and sink a three. VMI believed that they could win, and they outhustled UK to pull off the shocker.
Here's an article and a video from Kentucky.com.