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Nearly 400 tents encircle Memorial Coliseum on first evening of camp-out

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John Calipari stopped by the annual Big Blue Madness ticket camp-out to greet fans. (Britney McIntosh, UK Athletics) John Calipari stopped by the annual Big Blue Madness ticket camp-out to greet fans. (Britney McIntosh, UK Athletics)
For less than 12 hours, fans have been able to officially line up for tickets to Big Blue Madness. In that time, approximately 398 tents have packed the lawn around the Joe Craft Center and Memorial Coliseum even though tickets aren't available for more than two days.

Wildcat faithful have not allowed construction around Memorial or occasional rain to get in the way of their quest for tickets to the first open practice opportunity for UK's men's and women's basketball teams. The line for tickets begins at the doors to the Joe Craft ticket center and wraps around the entire perimeter of the building from Lexington Avenue to the Avenue of Champions to Rose Street.

At 4 p.m. on the first day of the 2010 camp-out, fans set a record with approximately 360 tents. The 2011 camp-out trumped that number by nearly 40 and fans are already being directed across the street from Memorial to Stoll Field since all open space adjacent to the building has been claimed.

I'm not sure how, but Kentucky fans keep topping themselves. Just when anticipation for Big Blue Madness seemed to be at an all-time high in 2009, the 2010 camp-out shattered the previous year's count with 525 tents. With this year's camp-out well-ahead of the 2010 pace, it would seem that last year's impossibly high number is in danger of being topped. Throughout the next two days, I will have more counts to see if the Big Blue Nation can break last year's record.

At 2 p.m. on Friday, control cards will be issued to those fans camped out at that time. Tickets will be distributed at 7 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 1.

Head coach John Calipari stopped by the campout this afternoon to chat with fans and sign autographs. Here is a photo gallery with some images from Calipari's visit and all the other goings-on.


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