LEXINGTON, Ky. –Big Blue Madness, the official start of Kentucky basketball practice, will be held at Rupp Arena this year for the first time, the school announced Wednesday. The event, scheduled for Friday, Oct. 14, tips off a year-long celebration marking 30 years of Kentucky basketball at the Wildcats' home court in downtown Lexington.
And, unlike past years, fans won't have to wait until midnight to see the Wildcats take the court. New NCAA legislation allows schools to start practice before midnight. This year's festivities begin at 9 p.m., and will feature the unveiling of both the UK men's and women's 2005-06 basketball squads.
Memorial Coliseum has been the site of Big Blue Madness since its inception in 1982. However, due to the practice facility renovations being done at the 55-year-old building, spectator seating will be limited to 5,600, down from the normal capacity of 8,700. This reduction led UK to move the event to 23,000-seat Rupp Arena.
"We've always treated this event as an opportunity for the fans who do not have season tickets to watch their Wildcats," men's basketball coach Tubby Smith said. "That will continue this year. Kentucky Basketball is so special to so many people. Moving the event to Rupp and the earlier start time allows for a larger group of people to participate and join us in the 30 year celebration."
"We have a tremendous opportunity to celebrate 30 great years of Kentucky Basketball in Rupp Arena," Associate Athletics for Marketing Rick Thompson said. "There's no better way to start the celebration than with the first practice."
Madness remains free to the public. Tickets for lower 8,000 level seats can be picked up at the Memorial Coliseum ticket windows at 7 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 1st. Upper level seats will be distributed via TicketMaster beginning Oct. 6.
UK Begins 30th Year at Rupp with Madness
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