Gillispie set for first Madness Posted: Fri 4:17 PM, Oct 12, 2007 LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - New Kentucky coach Billy Gillispie will bethrowing one of college basketball's biggest parties Friday night,but he's lowering expectations about what surprises might be instore. "I'm not going to propose to anybody or anything," jokedGillispie, a bachelor. The Wildcats' Big Blue Madness, which almost always attracts acapacity crowd of 24,000-plus to Rupp Arena, could be the maddestin years. Gillispie has replaced Tubby Smith as coach, and from his folksynews conferences to his recruiting coups, excitement is high amongarguably the nation's most demanding fan base. Although Gillispie is already well known in Lexington, where thebasketball coach is always the biggest celebrity, this is the firsttime fans will get to see their new coach in a real basketballsetting. No newcomer truly becomes a Wildcat until he goes throughMadness, center Jared Carter says. "Whenever he's in Rupp Arena and it's packed, he hears thefireworks go off and all the fans cheer, he'll know he's officiallyKentucky," Carter said. Gillispie inherits a young team in his debut season, loaded withguards - including lone seniors Ramel Bradley and Joe Crawford. "I've been used to doing things one way for three years, butit's a change for the better," Crawford said. "He's definitelybrought new ideas to the table, brought new life." The frontcourt could be more of an issue as the Wildcats willrely heavily on blue chip freshman recruit Patrick Patterson andsophomore Perry Stevenson, a shot-blocking specialist last year whois trying to become a scoring presence. Gillispie says he isn't worried about how tall the majority ofhis players are, provided they have quickness and athletic ability. These Wildcats are in shape - an eight-day "boot camp"conditioning program assured that, but Gillispie says they're notnearly ready for prime time. While Madness is always a great tool for recruiting - andKentucky has invited several to attend Friday - Gillispie cringesabout anyone drawing conclusions from what they see out of theteam's early exhibition performance. "They're going to play some bad basketball," Gillispie said ofthe scrimmage he has planned for Friday night. "Hopefully it'll bethe last time you see bad basketball." The players see a different side of Gillispie during practices,a more serious side. He jokes that he last cracked a smile in apractice four years ago. Still, the returning players insist Big Blue Madness iscontagious, and even the business-minded coach won't be able toresist enjoying it. "After tonight he's going to be like, 'Oh wow, 24,000 people.This is crazy,"' sophomore guard Jodie Meeks said. "I don't thinkhe'll shy away from it. I think he'll experience it and love it." (Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.) Caliapri says Brad wants to coach, what about play?