Much like its men's basketball team, the University of Kentucky's Big Blue Madness campout is getting bigger all the time.
This season's UK roster includes seven players who stand 6-foot-8 or taller and 12 who were part of the Wildcats' run to last season's NCAA championship game.
As the Cats prepare to take aim at the school's ninth national championship in 2014-15, the preseason excitement reached a new level Friday.
UK announced that a record 760 tents were set up outside Memorial Coliseum as fans awaited their chance to get tickets for Big Blue Madness, the school's annual celebration of basketball to tip off the start of preseason practice.
This year's Big Blue Madness is scheduled for Oct. 17 in Rupp Arena.
The estimated 760 tents brought good news and bad news for UK fans.
The good news was that total broke the previous record of 755 set last year.
The bad news was that any late-arriving campers joining the fun after 9 a.m. Friday were not likely to receive the control cards necessary to get the free tickets to Madness. Control cards were distributed Friday afternoon.
DeWayne Peevy, UK deputy athletics director, said that a limited number of tickets would be made available online Saturday morning for those who did not receive control cards or were not able to camp out.
"Some of those tickets online will have a slightly obstructed view," Peevy said. "Due to the anticipated stage setup inside Rupp Arena, the view may be partially obstructed during a portion of the event for the following sections: 11, 34-44, and 238-241."
UK allots a fixed number of camper tickets each year based on availability after internal needs are established. Inventory already accounted for included tickets for students, recruits, staff, sponsors, and both the men's and women's basketball programs. Unlike a normal basketball game in Rupp Arena, which seats 23,000-plus, capacity is decreased for Big Blue Madness and is determined by the varying setup each year.
"The Big Blue Madness campout proves every year without a doubt that no one does it like the Big Blue Nation," Peevy said in a news release Friday morning. "With that, we have a responsibility to communicate with our fans that are camping out that we are near our capacity of tickets available for distribution for this year's event."
Fans with control cards are encouraged to begin lining up for Saturday's ticket distribution between 5 and 6 a.m. at the Memorial Coliseum ticket windows. All persons with control cards must be in line by 7 a.m. Saturday.
The online tickets may be obtained at Ticketmaster.com beginning at 7 a.m. Though the tickets are free, online orders come with a small service charge. Online orders are limited to four tickets per household.