The tipoff was at 7 p.m.
Kentucky didn't get started until about 7:15 — maybe.
Or, truth be told, Kentucky didn't start playing basketball until the second half.
Thing is, even if you're the No. 1 ranked team in the country, even if the so-called experts are placing you in the same sentence with important words such as historic, and even if you're a 26-point favorite over a supposedly overmatched opponent, you still have come out and play.
Columbia started playing from the jump Wednesday night at Rupp Arena. Kentucky slept; the Lions roared.
The visitors scored 11 points before the Cats appeared to realize that, hey, this was an actual basketball game. John Calipari's team climbed back into contention during the first half but never forged ahead, down two points at intermission.
"We didn't play with any energy," Calipari lamented afterward.
Kentucky ended up with a 56-46 win, finding the necessary points to avoid the upset but never finding a groove. It was the No. 1 ranked team's 10th straight win to open the season, but an impressive win it was not.
Even near night's end, when the scoreboard showed that Earth was back on its axis, the Cats scored just six points in the final seven minutes. They shot 36.7 percent from the field for the night and, as part of a growing problem, made just two of 17 from three-point range, for 11.8 percent.
"We haven't shot the ball well for three games," Calipari said.
He's not kidding. In its past three outings, Kentucky is six of 42 from behind the arc.
"I don't think it's mental," said guard Aaron Harrison, who was one for five from three-point range while his twin Andrew was zero for five. "I think they'll start falling."
So why aren't the shots falling now?
"I don't know," Calipari said. "Somebody said why don't we come down here (to Rupp) and shoot? I said, 'We're shooting just as bad in the practice facility. Maybe we should go to the blue courts outside and try it out there in the wind. Maybe the wind will knock some shots in.'"
He also said this: "We're a good shooting team that's not making shots."
Surely, energy plays a role in that. The poor shooting last Friday against Texas probably had something to do with the fact the Longhorns can play defense. The poor shooting Sunday night in the win over Eastern Kentucky might fall under the definition of a shooting slump.
The poor shooting Wednesday night had much to do with engagement.
The Cats never seemed fully engaged, especially during the first half. Columbia is not a small team, but the Lions are not particularly athletic. And yet they nearly outrebounded Kentucky, down just 17-15 on the glass at the half. (The final boards ended up 41-28 in UK's favor.)
Bottom line: Columbia is the Ivy League school, but Kentucky learned the lesson.
"This was good for us," Calipari said. "We needed this."
OK, Cal always says that, especially when it's early in the year, especially when, to use another Calipari oratorical staple, the Cats get punched in the mouth. This time, however, he's right on the money.
We're not talking about the next three games — "We've got three monster games coming up," Calipari told the TV crew in post-game — against North Carolina, UCLA and Louisville. If the Cats aren't ready to play in those three, something is wrong, terribly wrong. They'll be ready.
It's the other games, the ones against lesser but dangerous foes, where the lessons about energy and preparation must be learned.
"We just have to be ready to play every night," said Aaron Harrison.