September 28, 2011
The latest evidence that the passion of Kentucky fans may be unmatched across college basketball came at 7 a.m. Wednesday morning when hundreds of Wildcats supporters staged an impromptu sprint to the grass alongside the Memorial Coliseum.
They weren't sprinting to get in line for game tickets. They weren't sprinting for a good number in a lottery for Final Four seats. No, this was an all-out mad dash to get a good spot to camp out for three days in hopes of getting choice tickets to the school's Oct. 14 Midnight Madness event.
Considering prominent basketball programs like UCLA don't have Midnight Madness due to lack of interest, and numerous other schools don't come close to selling out their events, it's amazing the level of fanaticism for Kentucky basketball.
The school announced there were already 398 tents set up as of 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday, a full 60 hours before fans can begin purchasing tickets. In the above video shot by the Kentucky Kernel, one guy was so excited to get his camping spot that he tripped crossing the street and nearly got trampled.
Of course, the passion for Kentucky basketball is amplified this year by the combination of the arrival of another vaunted freshman class and the return of Terrence Jones, Darius Miller and Doron Lamb from last year's Final Four team. And it probably doesn't hurt that Kentucky's football program reached new levels of irrelevancy the first month of the new season with narrow wins over Western Kentucky and Central Michigan and losses at the hands of rivals Louisville and Florida.
The past two years, tickets to Big Blue Madness sold out in less than an hour. If the camp-out is any indication, expect them to go just as quickly on Saturday.
(Thanks, Kentucky Sports Radio)