Big Blue Madness is now upon us and it cannot come soon enough for Big Blue Nation. The pain of last season's disappointing NIT finish still lingers. The football team is still in rebuilding mode after firing head coach Joker Phillips in 2012 for going 2-10 and 0-8 in the SEC.
But all of those bad feelings are about to be forgotten when the festivities begin tonight. The spectacle of the Greatest Show in College Basketball will again give fans reason to cheer and to be hopeful as the greatest recruiting class of all time takes the floor as a unit for the first time in public.
As we know, Big Blue Madness is an event like no other and Kentucky fans treat it like no other fan base treats their first practice. Part of the fun is guessing what will occur; it's kind of like a kid shaking his/her presents under the Christmas tree, trying to figure out what is in the wrapped box.
Here are my predictions and expectations for Big Blue Madness on tonight.
- Matthew Mitchell has become a bit of a show-stopper. Last year he broke out his MC Hammer pants and got down to "U Can't Touch This" in front of a roaring crowd. I'm going to go ahead and predict that Mitchell is going to bring it once again and do something even more outrageous. The UK Hoops coach is rivaling John Calipari as the most charismatic guy on Kentucky's campus.
- Which UK player is going to have the best dance? This tradition really began during Cal's inaugural Big Blue Madness when John Wall broke out the one and only "John Wall Dance". Nobody has duplicated its greatness or its status as a genuine cultural phenomenon and I don't expect something that awesome to ever happen again. There have been some good dances in the past, Josh Harrelson's rendition of "The Carlton" comes to mind, and this year's team has some guys that my pull off something great. My early favorite is Marcus Lee. He has been sending out some cryptic tweets about various dances and seems to be the class clown of the team. I can't imagine the Harrison Twins or Julius Randle getting too much into the whole dancing thing. This leads me to my next prediction...
- Some of these guys are going to be all business. Don't get me wrong, there will be plenty of fun to be had by all, but my guess is that Randle and the Harrisons are going to be a little more serious than the rest. The three of them are no-nonsense type players when it comes to basketball and competing. The Harrison Twins have a reputation as being "Stone Cold Killers" on the court and I doubt much will change, even in a scrimmage meant strictly for entertainment purposes. As for Randle, he is being billed as an All American, SEC first team, SEC player of the year, and a possible Naismith player of the year, as well as a potential number one draft pick; Randle has a lot to prove and my guess is that he will start doing that tonight.
- John Calipari's speech at Big Blue Madness is something that I look forward to every year. There aren't many coaches out there that can motivate through words as well as Cal. I am sure that he will tell us that we are all crazy, but I also look for him to address the 40-0 talk as well as the potential to send seven guys to the NBA draft. This speech is not only addressed to the adoring fans, but to the recruits in attendance as well. Out of all the speeches that he has given at this event, this one may be his best to date.
- The scrimmage itself should be a highlight reel the likes we haven't seen. The Harrisons, Randle, James Young, Alex Poythress, Willie Cauley-Stein and Marcus Lee are all capable of making some eye-popping dunks and plays. There should be alley-oops and flashy slams galore. I will be interested to see the shooting capabilities of this team. Young and Aaron Harrison are known as the shooters, but it will be interesting to see how much Poythress has improved in the mid-range area and how much Randle plays on the outside, something that Cal has alluded to him working on. That being said, we won't be able to glean much from this exhibition. Almost no defense will be played and almost no actual plays will be run. But it will still be a blast to watch.
Those are my thoughts about what we will see at Big Blue Madness. Enjoy Big Blue Nation; we may only get one season out of most of these guys. Hopefully this will be the start of a national title run.