Record number for Kentucky hoops kickoff
by Jonathan Lintner, USA TODAY Sports
LEXINGTON, Ky. — Deb Moore, a staffer in the University of Kentucky’s athletic media relations office, tweeted Wednesday that as of 9 a.m. CDT, there were more tents at UK’s Big Blue Madness campsite than she’s ever seen that early in the stakeout.
UK confirmed Moore’s observation later by announcing a record 650 tents were up this morning — three days before fans can actually get Big Blue Madness vouchers — leading into a season in which the Wildcats enter with another No. 1 recruiting class and national title expectations.
The previous record was set last year with 595 tents for an event that’s grown exponentially since coach John Calipari arrived at UK in 2009.
“Each time, I’ve thought the previous year’s tent-count record would be tough to beat,” wrote UK athletics’ Guy Ramsey, who for three years has counted tents at the campouts. “It’s time to stop doubting Kentucky fans.”
A rush for spots outside the ticket window at Memorial Coliseum happened under pitch-black skies and at 5 a.m. Prime real estate ensures campers will receive a control card at 2 p.m. Friday, which is worth as many as four free tickets per person when the vouchers are issued at 7 a.m. Saturday.
Big Blue Madness represents the first chance for the general public to check out this year’s UK men’s and women’s basketball teams. Calipari’s squad features incoming five-star recruits Julius Randle, James Young, Dakari Johnson and twins Andrew and Aaron Harrison.
The event starts at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 18. For those without a schedule open enough to camp all week, television information will be released at a later date.
UK’s athletic compliance officials asked a few favors of those who did make it camping this week through the office’s Facebook page.
First, “If a student-athlete indicates to you that they cannot stop for a picture or an autograph, please honor that and do not continue to ask them to do so. They have been told that they cannot use the campers as an excuse for being late to any of their responsibilities.”
And also, “Please do not stop or delay a student-athlete in any way if … [For more on Record number lines up for Kentucky hoops kickoff, click here.]