Big Blue Madness, or rather, “Midnight Madness,” is a tradition started by Joe B. Hall back in 1982. Joe B. modeled it after midnight practices Lefty Dreisell used to have in the 70’s to celebrate the first day of practice. More than three decades later, it has become a staple of college basketball, with almost every major program putting on some kind of event for fans to commemorate the beginning of the season. Naturally, Kentucky’s has always been one of the largest in the sport, morphing from a gathering of 8,500 fans at Memorial Coliseum into a 24,000+ sold out event that fans camp out almost an entire week to get tickets for.
For the Big Blue Nation, “Madness” marks the first time fans get a glimpse of their team, and in turn, has created countless memories over the years. We made a list of the 16 best Madness moments and pitted them against each other in a bracket. Each night this week, you guys will vote for your favorites to move on to the Final Four, and on Friday, your votes will decide The Ultimate Madness Moment.
Last night, you voted on “The Dougie Region.” Here are the results:
Matthew Mitchell doing “The Dougie” (2010): 56% (1702)
Walter McCarty and Tony Delk as “Catman and Robin” (1995): 44% (1326)
The Rupp Arena Floor becomes a projection screen (2012): 56% (1702)
Past Greats re-raise the banners (2012): 39% (1232)
Those two moments will move to the Elite Eight, which you’ll vote on later this week.
Tonight, we unveil “The MC Hammer Region”:
Matthew Mitchell as MC Hammer (2012)
Cal’s State of the Program speech (2009)
Big Boo Madness on Halloween (1992)
Matthew Mitchell as MC Hammer
Why it’s great: The pressure was on Matthew Mitchell to raise the bar even higher during his Big Blue Madness introduction in 2012 after two impressive years of dancing for the Rupp Arena crowd. With “The Dougie” and a Michael Jackson tribute to top, Mitchell came out in Hammer pants, breakdancing his way across the stage to “U Can’t Touch This” and “2 Legit 2 Quit”, two classic MC Hammer jams.
He worked in a move from Gangnam Style for good measure, too.
Why it’s great: In maybe the most bizarre Big Blue Madness performance, and that’s saying something, a group of cloggers called “ALL THAT!” tap-danced or clogged or whatever you want to call it alongside the UK band to kick off the festivities. The quintet donned their own custom No. 1 Kentucky basketball jerseys while stomping around to Run DMC’s “Walk This Way”.
Calipari’s State of the Program speech
Why it’s great: Coach Cal took the stage for the first time in front of the Big Blue faithful at Madness in 2009. Many of the words he said that night still echo out today:
“The destination is clear and our challenges are many. we must Meld six new players together with seven returning wildcats and Get them on one page with one heartbeat. we must create a trust and a bond; respect and adoration; acceptance and affection. then, over time, those qualities will turn into love for one another. When that happens – when they become a family in every sense, when they care more about their teammates than themselves – It’s at that point when we will become unbreakable and unbeatable.”
“My friends, we have an enormous mountain to climb. Tonight, We are at the base of that mountain. other programs begin this pre-season returning the same coach, the same players, the same offense. . . they are miles ahead of us and half way up the mountain. Our team, on the other hand, has a new system, a new style, new players, new coaches. . .almost everything is foreign and unknown. But what we do have is a wealth of skill, energy and determination. if I have my choice between experience and talent, I’m taking talent every time.”
“Big Boo Madness – A Monster Bash”
Why it’s great: The Halloween-themed “Big Boo Madness” of 1992 featured a highlight video of Jamal “Monster Mash” Mashburn and, as one KSR commenter reminded us, Cawood Ledford popping out of a casket to start the show. Rodrick Rhodes, Jared Prickett and Tony Delk made up the incoming class of freshmen and everyone in attendance went home with a Mashburn poster.
Vote for your favorite to move on to the Elite Eight: