As has become tradition, the Kentucky Wildcats tip off the new basketball season with Big Blue Madness, an event-filled evening, this year for the first time ever at Rupp Arena. For those arriving early, the doors open at 7:30 p.m..
Fans should plan to arrive early due to security measures and a number of events in the area that could affect traffic flow. The night will include games and contests with prizes for all the winners. The UK band, cheerleaders and dance team also will be performing.
The womens basketball team will be introduced at 9:15 p.m. and Big Blue fans will catch their first glimpse of the new Wildcats including three newcomers just after 10 p.m.
Approximately 23,000 tickets were distributed in just over 48 hours, including 20,000 in the first 35 minutes of availability this past Saturday morning. The event will be broadcast regionally on FSN, the Big Blue Network beginning at 9 p.m. and the nation on ESPNU starting at 10 p.m.
Kentucky Basketball Unparalleled Tradition
Highlights of UKs previous 102 seasons include:
Seven national titles
(1948, '49, '51, '58, '78, '96, 98)
The all-time winningest team in college basketball (1,904 wins)
The highest all-time winning percentage of any team in college basketball
-- 76.4% (1,904-583-1)
Three NCAA runner-up trophies
13 Final Four appearances
A national-record 46 NCAA tournament appearances
43 Southeastern Conference Championships
25 SEC Tournament titles
Eleven 30-win seasons, the most in college basketball
39 players chosen All-America 57 times
89 Wildcats selected in the NBA Draft
Practice Begins Friday
Friday, Oct. 14, is the first day Division I college basketball teams can practice. Several years ago, the NCAA moved the first day of practice to the Saturday closest to Oct. 15. The Wildcats began preseason workouts in September, concentrating on strength and conditioning as well as individual instruction.
This year, the NCAA has adjusted the rules to allow teams full team practice time for four hours per week, which began in late August. However, teams are restricted from full five-on-five scrimmaging until the start of regular practice tonight.
The Birth of Big Blue Madness
Former UK coach Joe B. Hall started Big Blue Madness at the University of Kentucky in 1982. According to Hall, he was looking for an idea to create more excitement for his 1982-83 squad. So they invited the fans in for team introductions and a scrimmage at 12:01 a.m. on Oct. 15, 1982. Madness has now grown at a tremendous pace while also spreading to college and high school programs across the nation. Lefty Driesell, currently the coach at James Madison, is credited with conducting the first Midnight Madness when he was the head coach at Maryland in 1971.
Big Blue Madness Highlights
When Big Blue Madness started in 1982, it was called "Midnight Special." More than 8,500 fans attended that first event in 12,000-seat Memorial Coliseum. Admission was somewhat easier then -- those still arriving near the stroke of 12 a.m. had no problem getting a seat. But the seed of growth had been planted.
1983 -- More than 10,000 supporters arrived to watch a highly rated Kentucky team led by Sam Bowie, Melvin Turpin and Kenny Walker. That team went on to a Final Four finish.
1984 -- Introductions were in order as a new troop of fresh-faced Wildcats took the floor after the graduations of Bowie, Turpin, Dickey Beal, Tom Heitz and Jim Master.
1985 -- The Coliseum was rocking as first-year coach Eddie Sutton ushered in a new era.
1986 -- By the time the band started pounding out the fight song at 11:30 p.m., the fire marshal had already ordered the doors closed at 9:50 p.m., leaving hundreds of fans outside. Inside, more than 12,500 fans caught the first glimpse of super-frosh Rex Chapman and the Wildcats.
1989 -- Rick Pitino was introduced for the first time to a capacity crowd of more than 8,700 (the Coliseum capacity dropped from 11,500 because of renovation). Fans were caught trying to sneak in the windows and any opening they could find.
1990 -- Lines began forming at 8:30 a.m. as nearly 10,000 fans helped Kentucky celebrate a "Big Blue New Year."
1991 -- Fans lined up 36 hours in advance as the Cats were "Back in the Spotlight," eligible for postseason play for the first time in the Pitino era. Doors were closed 45 minutes after they opened, the earliest ever. All four recruits who attended Madness that year -- Rodrick Rhodes, Jared Prickett, Tony Delk and Walter McCarty -- verbally committed to Kentucky the next week.
1992 -- "Big Boo Madness - A Monster Bash" fell on Halloween night since the NCAA had moved the start of practice back to Nov. 1. Once again, doors closed only 45 minutes after they opened, as a capacity crowd watched Jamal Mashburn and company usher in the new season.
1993 -- The first fans arrived on Wednesday -- three days early -- and at 12:01 a.m. on Oct. 29, the Cats were "Rockin' after Midnight" as a popular senior foursome -- Travis Ford, Rodney Dent, Jeff Brassow and Gimel Martinez -- led the 1993-94 team into action.
1994 -- The father and son combination of Robert and Ronald Vallandingham of Smithland, Ky., formerly of New Albany, Ind., arrived on Oct. 10 -- a full five days early. Coach Pitino was the headline attraction. Playing to the theme "Born To Be Wild," Pitino arrived in the gym dressed in leather driving a Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
1995 -- Wally Clark of Lexington was determined to be "first in line" and arrived 17 days early. The preseason No. 1 team in the nation was introduced with the premier of "Cat Fan Forever." Seniors Walter McCarty and Tony Delk swooped down on ropes from high above dressed as "Cat"man and Robin.
1996 -- Clark parked himself by the front door on Sept. 10, a full 38 days prior to Big Blue Madness. In the pre-Madness celebration, the "Back to Tradition" theme honored the championship teams, including the defending national champions, as well as former stars.
1997 -- Tickets were passed out five days early a Monday morning and were gone within the first 75 minutes for Late Night with the Cats. It was the official introduction of Coach Tubby Smith to the Wildcat faithful, as he made his appearance high above the floor in the second deck.
1998 The Wildcats, playing to the theme, The Main Event, were dressed in their favorite professional wrestling outfits and introduced down through the UK crowd. Later, they celebrated their NCAA Championship from the previous season by unveiling a new championship banner on the Coliseums Wall of Champions.
1999 The tickets were again distributed a week early and vanished in 27 minutes for Americas Team of the Century. Making a very special, and surprise, appearance was newly crowned Miss America, Heather Renee French, from Maysville, Ky. To thunderous applause, Coach Tubby Smith escorted her to center court.
2000 Tickets were offered on the Internet for the first time and all 700 were distributed in 13 minutes. The remaining 8,000 were gone in 10 minutes to those waiting in line. Survivor, a take-off from the popular television show that summer, was the theme for the annual event.
2001 A week before the event, all 8,000 of the tickets were gone in less than an hour after Internet and window distributions. The Wildcats celebrated the 20th anniversary of the event by revisiting the Midnight Special, theme, celebrating the last two decades of Madness.
2002 Kentucky kicked off the 100th anniversary celebration by bringing back 15 former players who were introduced with each of the 2002-03 Wildcats. Former greats like Wah Wah Jones, Sam Bowie and Jim LeMaster were just a few of the players who watched as a giant birthday cake was wheeled to center court. After the team led the crowd in the singing of Happy Birthday, longtime Equipment Manager Bill Keightley emerged from the cake.
2003 - UK used the theme The Future of Kentucky Basketball, spoofing the movie Back to the Future, as Coach Tubby Smith and and Equipment Manager Bill Keightley appeared in a Delorean car at the stroke of midnight. The event also saw the first-time introduction of new womens basketball head coach Mickie DeMoss as she was carried out by the UK Cheerleaders to the Toni Basil tune Mickey.
2004 This is Kentucky Basketball was the theme for the 2004 Madness. The fun-filled evening was packed with contests, specially-made videos and spoof commercials featuring the UK mens and womens players, plus special guests like former UK players Kenny Walker, Sam Bowie and Richie Farmer, plus famous fan Ashley Judd. Rajon Rondo was everybodys choice in the slam dunk exhibition.
2005-06 KENTUCKY MENS BASKETBALL ROSTER
No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Cl. Exp. Hometown (High School)
1 Brandon Stockton G 5-9 167 Sr. 3L Glasgow, Ky. (Glasgow)
2 Ravi Moss G 6-2 190 Sr. 3L Hopkinsville, Ky. (Univ. Heights)
3 Ramel Bradley G 6-1 179 So. 1L New York, N.Y. (IMG Academy, Fla.)
4 Rajon Rondo G 6-1 171 So. 1L Louisville, Ky. (Oak Hill Academy, Va.)
10 Lukasz Obrzut C 7-0 270 Jr. 2L Gliwice, Poland (Bridgton Academy, Maine)
12 Preston LeMaster G 6-2 188 Sr. 3L Paris, Ky. (Bourbon Co.)
13 Bobby Perry F 6-6 219 Jr. 2L Durham, N.C. (Hillside)
21 Shagari Alleyne C 7-3 271 Jr. 2L Bronx, N.Y. (Rice)
22 Patrick Sparks G 6-0 180 Sr. 1L Central City, Ky.
(Muhlenburg North/Western Kentucky)
23 Sheray Thomas F 6-7 230 Jr. 2L Montreal, Quebec
(Riverdale Baptist, Md.)
25 Adam Williams G 6-4 190 Fr. HS St. Albans, W.Va. (IMG Academy, Fla.)
32 Joe Crawford G 6-4 210 So. 1L Detroit, Mich. (Renaissance)
33 Randolph Morris C 6-10 250 So. 1L Atlanta, Ga. (Landmark Christian)
42 Rekalin Sims F 6-8 200 Jr. TR Vallejo, Calif. (De La Salle/Salt Lake CC)
43 Jared Carter C 7-2 240 Fr. HS Georgetown, Ky. (Scott Co.)
SHAGARI (Shuh-GAR-ee) ALLEYNE (ahh-LEAN); RAMEL (Ruh-MEL) Bradley; RAVI (RAW-vee) Moss; LUKASZ (WOO-kosh) OBRZUT (ORB-zhoot);
RAJON (RYE-zhon) Rondo; SHERAY (Sheh-RAY) Thomas.
2005-06 KENTUCKY WOMENS BASKETBALL ROSTER
NO NAME POS HT CL/EXP HOMETOWN (HS/COLLEGE)
00 Carly Ormerod PG 5-8 FR/HS Louisville, Ky./Sacred Heart Academy
1 Eleia Roddy F/C 6-3 SO/1L Columbus, Ohio/Independence HS
3 Oreonna Taylor PG 5-6 FR/HS Rochester, N.Y./Stockbridge (Ga.) HS
4 Sarah Elliott C 6-6 SO/1L McKee, Ky./Jackson County HS
10 Nastassia Alcius G 5-8 JR/1L Lexington, Ky./Henry Clay HS/Dayton
11 Samantha Mahoney G 5-10 SO/1L Detroit, Mich./West Bloomfield HS
20 Chante Bowman G 5-11 SO/1L Detroit, Mich./Cass Tech HS
21 Jenne Jackson F/C 6-1 FR/HS Radcliff, Ky./North Hardin HS
22 Stephanie Stumbo F 6-0 SR/3L Birmingham, Ala./Hoover HS
23 LaQwesha Gamble G/F 6-0 FR/HS Winter Haven, Fla./Winter Haven HS
32 Jennifer Humphrey F/C 6-3 SR/2L Memphis, Tenn./Ridgeway HS
33 Jenny Pfeiffer G 5-8 JR/2L North Vernon, Ind./Jennings County HS
34 Afton Perry F 6-1 SO/1L Fort Walton Beach, Fla./Ft. Walton Beach HS
Sade (SHAR-day) Buley (BU-lee); Chante (SHAWN-tay) Bowman (BO-man); Eleia (ee-LEE-ah); Nastassia (na-STASHA) Alcius (al-SEE-us)