Cat passion was oozing at Rupp

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- For those who believe there is a state that is more basketball-fixated than the commonwealth of Kentucky, forget it.

I am not prepared to say that Kentucky is the state most passionate about the game, but I can say without equivocation that no state in the union has more enthusiasm.

Kentucky has been staging its Big Blue Madness event since 1982, and this year -- for the first time -- the event was held in Rupp Arena instead of Memorial Coliseum. This year, for the recognized start date of practice, the Wildcats faithful gobbled up more than 23,000 tickets to the annual event in about 35 minutes. The truth is, if the building held 60,000, Kentucky still would have filled it.