There is arguably no college basketball team in 2013-14 that is more compelling than Kentucky—led by an unprecedented freshman class, the Wildcats are ranked No. 1 in the land despite losing to Robert Morris in the NIT seven months ago—and Friday's midnight madness event matched that colossal anticipation.
As it's known at Rupp Arena, Big Blue Madness, which sold out in minutes, was an event of impressively massive proportions. Just take a look at the setup, courtesy of The Courier-Journal's Kyle Tucker:
Simply put, the production value was that of something you would probably see in Hollywood.
Lady Wildcats head coach Matthew Mitchell, who has been known to steal the show in the past, got things started with a pretty amazing dance number. Tucker summed it up:
James Pennington of KYForward.com supplied a picture of the James Brown portion:
After the women put on a three-point contest and 10-minute scrimmage, it was the men's turn.
John Calipari delivered a pretty fiery speech that put the Rupp crowd into a frenzy, and if you're a Wildcats fan, it's worth watching if you want to feel good about this season and the future. Here's the Cliffs Notes version, courtesy of ESPN's Jason King:
Michael Lee provided a picture of the scene:
Then it was time for the introductions. In the past, we've seen guys such as John Wall and Josh Harrellson put on some entertaining moves, but this year's group wasn't all that impressive—at least not on the Mitchell Scale—in the dance category.
CBS Sports' Jeff Borzello gave his winners:
Finally, it was time for the game. Granted, it was nothing more than a pick-up game with very little defense and even less cohesion, so trying to find major takeaways would be frivolous.
Nevertheless, some players still managed to stand out.
Julius Randle, the highest rated of Kentucky's loaded incoming class, had one particular moment where he grabbed a rebound, went coast to coast, alluded a defender with an agile behind-the-back dribble and slammed it home with ferocity.
Remember, that's a 6'9" power forward with 250 pounds of muscle making that move. Big men across the country take (fearful) note.
Marcus Lee, who has maybe garnered even more hype than Randle this offseason, showed off his silly athleticism, throwing down a dunk and blocking a few other shots. His pogo-like hops and natural scoring ability is going to get him on SportsCenter plenty of times this season.
In the end, the blue team, behind Randle's game-high 14 points, got the 65-49 win, and sophomore Willie Cauley-Stein ended the night, via Tucker:
And if Friday night was any indication, each of those games is going to be fun to watch with this young, exciting, athletic, yet still unproven team.