Kentucky Wildcats logoThe Kentucky Wildcats men's basketball team, representing the University of Kentucky, is the holder of the most all-time victories in the history of college basketball, both in all-time wins and all-time winning percentage, with an all-time record of
1988-635-1.Kentucky also leads the NCAA in NCAA tournament appearances, NCAA tournament games, and ranks second to UCLA in NCAA championships with 7, and second to UNC in NCAA tournament wins with 98. In addition to these titles, Kentucky also has won the National Invitation Tournament in both 1946 and 1976.
The Wildcats play their home games in Rupp Arena, a facility named for their former coach, Adolph Rupp. The arena's official capacity is 23,500, and the team consistently ranks first in the nation in home game attendance. The team's huge fan base is often referred to as the "Big Blue Nation". Likewise, the team itself is often referred to as the "Big Blue." In the 1980s the team was credited with popularizing Midnight Madness, although former University of Maryland Coach Lefty Driesell is credited with starting the nationwide tradition of Midnight Madness in 1971.
The first home court for the Wildcats was simply called "the Gymnasium," and was located in the north wing of Barker Hall on the university campus. Constructed in 1902, it also housed the university's physical education classes until 1909. The facility had a capacity of 650 people, and with no bleachers or seats, fans had to stand to watch the games that were played there.
By the 1920s, it had become clear that the Gymnasium (by then renamed the "Ladies' Gym") was inadequate to house the university's basketball team. In 1924, Alumni Gym was completed. The new facility included seating for 2,800 people and cost $92,000 to construct.
Coming off back-to-back national championships, the team moved to Memorial Coliseum in 1950. Nicknamed "The House That Rupp Built," the multipurpose facility cost $4 million and seated 12,000 people. It also housed a swimming pool, physical education equipment, and offices for the athletics staff. The team occupied Memorial Coliseum for twenty-six seasons, and sold out every home game during that period.
The Wildcats' present home court, Rupp Arena, was opened in 1976. Located off-campus, in downtown Lexington, the facility's official capacity is 23,500. The Wildcats have consistently led the country in home attendance since the mid 1970's, and in 2008 again led the nation.
In 2007, the university unveiled the Joe Craft Center, a $30 million state-of-the-art basketball practice facility for both the men's and women's teams designed by Anna Frate and John Elliott.