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The time is nigh ... Madness approacheth

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You've sat through countless discussions of Andre' Woodson vs. Curtis Pulley. You've chimed in numerous times on the weight gain of Perry Stevenson. You've even pretended to be interested in women's basketball recruiting.

No longer. It's Big Blue Madness time, baby. And what a show it will be.

For the second straight year, the UK men's hoops team will open its fall practice -- and de facto begin its official season -- with a blowout event. Expecting 23,000+ at Rupp Arena for the spectacle, Tubby Smith and Co. have assembled their A-list recruits in hopes of persuading them to throw their hat into the Big Blue Ring at center court.

After weeks of reports on as many as 10 recruits being present for Madness, word late this week had winnowed the list to a clutch three, with a few possible 2008 names added as well. Here's what has been reported thus far.

The Morris Twins (Marcus, Markeiff) and Pennsylvania big man Lavoy Allen were all asked to postpone their visit. For two kids still unsure whether to matriculate in 2007 or 2008, this stands as a sign to me that UK is concnetrating on the now and letting these kids understand that while they are still wanted, the Cats have their focus. And for this group of recruiters, focus is a huge thing.

That means that the much-documented trio of UK targets -- Jai Lucas, Patrick Patterson and AJ Stewart -- will be in effect visiting together all weekend rather than having four other guys around. An accident of scheduling? Not likely. Moreso it seems clear that, as noted elsewhere, Tubby and his team are trying to focus on these three long-time targets in hopes of getting them to verbally commit together to be a special class.

Rivals.com is also reporting that "Scotty Hopson, the top in-state recruit from Kentucky and the No. 10 ranked player overall in the class of 2008" will also be on hand, while fellow in-state studs Bud Mackey (IU visit) and Darius Miller (unknown) will not be making the trip at this time as was rpeviously reported here and elsewhere.

But recruiting isn't the only thing going on, despite what it may seem. Tonight is Cats fans' first glimpse in Blue and White of freshmen Michael Porter, Derrick Jasper, Jodie Meeks and Stevenson. This is in addition to returning stars Randolph Morris, Joe Crawford, Ramel Bradley and Bobby Perry. Everyone's favorite punching bags Sheray Thomas and Woo Obrzut will be there, as will totally unpredictable Jared Carter. I think UK now has 14 walk-ons, too, so watch for them in the layup lines. They'll be the guys who look like they should be bagging groceries (I kid because I love).

So grab your blue and white and queue up the "Final Countdown," it's time to get things started ...

 ... with clogging?

Besides the traditional introduction of teams, Madness will also include a performance by the Paris, Ky.-based clogging ensemble "All That," which was a finalist on NBC's America's Got Talent show last summer.

And I thought "Back to the Future" was miserable ... who is in charge of this thing, Bill Keightley?