UK Men's Basketball

Big Blue showcase a solo act

There's a method to Kentucky's moving of Big Blue Madness to Oct. 10.

The school announced earlier this week it was moving its annual tip-off of men's basketball practice to an evening a week earlier than usual.

As spokesman DeWayne Peevy noted, the move gives Kentucky the college basketball stage to itself that evening. This exclusivity allows UK to showcase its basketball program and its rabid fan interest.

"What better way to do that than put it on a date when no one else is (having a Madness)," Peevy said.

The move also avoids a conflict with the football homecoming game against Arkansas the next weekend and it takes away recruiting conflicts with other schools' Madness celebrations. So prospects already committed to another Madness can still come and be subject to UK's sensory extravaganza.

One potential obstacle was the sticky NCAA rule book, which says that the first basketball practice cannot be held before Oct. 17.

But UK found a loophole big enough to house its Madness in Rupp Arena on Oct. 10.

UK checked with the Southeastern Conference office (which checked with the NCAA) and discovered a way to make it work. NCAA rules allow two hours of practice per week with a basketball team after Sept. 15. So UK decided to devote a sufficient amount of time that week to hold its Madness on Oct. 10.

Who gets credit for such innovative thinking? Coach Billy Gillispie? Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart? A lowly manager?

Rob Mullens, deputy director of athletics, said it was a "team decision."

Tickets for the event will be distributed on Saturday, Sept. 27, at 7 a.m. at the ticket office outside Memorial Coliseum.

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