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Tonight, the University of Kentucky Men's Basketball Team takes the court against the Duke Blue Devils. For many of us, this is a game fueled by intense rivalry, which makes it rather surprising that this will only be the twenty-first time the teams have met over the span of eighty-five years.
As we count down to tip-off, here are a few must-know trivia tidbits to fuel your #BBN obsession. Go Big Blue!
1. The Kentucky-Duke rivalry spreads over eighty-five years. The teams first met in March 1930 in Atlanta, at the semifinals of the Southern Conference Tournament.Duke won that game, 37-32. (Duke went on to lose to Alabama in the finals.)
2. The teams have met twenty times: Kentucky has won 11 of those games, while Duke has won 9.
3. The record for most points scored by a single player in a Duke-Kentucky game is held by UK legend Jack "Goose" Givens in the 1978 National Championship Game. Givens scored 41 points, including 18 fields goal.
4. Kentucky holds 8 National Championship Titles; Duke has 5.
5. The 1992 East Regional Final game is remembered by most Kentucky fans as perhaps the most painful loss to Duke. The 104-103 overtime Blue Devils win included Christian Laettner's memorable technical foul against Aminu Timberlake and that last shot -- you know the one, because the Worldwide Leader shows it a thousand times every spring -- well, you know how it ended.
Tonight's the night, BBN. Big Blue Madness, our first glimpse at the 2016 Wildcats. The greatest recruiting tool in college basketball, where we've learned over the years that Drake is a 'Cats Fan, and that at least one Miss America bleeds blue and where we've seen Coach Pitino on a Harley, Mr. Keightley jump out of a cake, and as many sick dance moves as Coach Mitchell cares to lay down. In honor of tonight's event, here's some Big Blue Madness Trivia for y'all.
- The first Kentucky Wildcats late night practice was held on October 15, 1982. Although UK Coach Joe B. Hall was not the first coach to hold an open scrimmage or practice to kick off basketball season, his "Midnight Special" is credited with popularizing the custom.
- Big Blue Madness was held in Memorial Coliseum from 1982-2004 and was moved to Rupp Arena in 2005.
- Although the free event welcomes thousands of Wildcats super-fans, the unofficial guests of honor are always high schoolers. The blue chip recruits whom we hope to sway toward the Big Blue Nation are conspicuously in attendance. The day after the 1991 Big Blue Madness, all four recruits in attendance -- Rodrick Rhodes, Jared Prickett, Tony Delk, and Walter McCarty -- verbally committed to UK.
- Some of the celebrities who've attended Big Blue Madness include Drake, Secretariat owner Penny Chenery, Miss America Heather French, and, of course, Ashley Judd.
- The 2002 Big Blue Madness celebrated the 100th anniversary of Kentucky Basketball. A giant birthday cake was brought to center court prior to the player introductions, with Mr. Wildcat, Bill Keightley, stealing the show by jumping out of the cake.
- When it became clear that the Internet was here to stay, tickets to BBM became even harder to acquire. The 2000 Big Blue Madness market the first time that tickets were available for online purchase; all 700 were distributed in 13 minutes. The remaining 8,000 were gone in 10 minutes to those waiting in line.
- In 1995, seniors Tony Delk and Walter McCarty made their grand appearance as "Cat"man and Robin.
- And, of course, in 2012, this happened. And it was the best.
The KY Kernel has a great rundown of this year's 'Cats. I don't know about y'all, but I sure am excited to meet them!
Go Big Blue!!!