When Mustang Madness was envisioned, the thought was to bring a showcase basketball event to the new McCracken County High School and help to christen the Strawberry Hills Pharmacy Arena, where the games will be played starting at 4 today, with the last scheduled tip at 9 p.m. Saturday.
"One of the first things Dr. Waldrop was very interested in was seeing big events at the school," Mustang Madness director Dan Hudson said of Superintendent Nancy Waldrop. "She stressed she wanted to showcase the entire school, both the indoor facility and all the different things they have there.
"That was one thing they wanted to accomplish with one of these big special events. This is a national event and when you look at the teams that are coming, we started with four to six teams and people want to come to this area to play. So it just grew and grew. I don't think we could ever, with the teams we have this first year, pull it off like we did."
Local teams playing in the three-day event include both McCracken County's Mustangs and Lady Mustangs, the Paducah Tilghman Lady Tornado, the St. Mary Vikings, the Massac County Patriots and Lady Patriots, the Graves County Lady Eagles, the Marshall County Marshals and Lady Marshals, and the Murray Lady Tigers.
Numerous nationally ranked boys teams help to fill out the Mustang Madness roster.
From Max Preps website, ranked teams include No. 8 Our Savior New America (NY), No. 14 Arsenal Technical (Indianapolis), No. 11 Sunrise Christian Academy (Kan.) and No. 12 Curie (Chicago).
Ranked in the USA Today Top 25 poll is No. 18 Marian Catholic.
Other nationally known programs playing in the event: Huntington Prep (WV), Dallas Prime Prep (Tex.), Evangelical Christian (La.), Quality Education (NC), Villa Angela St. Joseph (OH), The Carlisle School (VA), Chicago Orr (IL) and Lausanne Collegiate (TN).
The showcase also will have the boys teams from Holmes (Covington), Webster County and Goreville (Ill.)
That means some of the top talent in the nation will be playing on the Strawberry Hills Pharmacy Arena floor, including (from Rivals.com rankings) the Class of 2014's No. 2 and SMU commit Emmanuel Mudiay (Dallas Prime Prep), No. 4 and Kansas commit Cliff Alexander (Curie), No. 7 and Kentucky commit Trey Lyles (Arsenal Technical), No. 22 and uncommitted Jaquan Lyle (Huntington Prep), No. 33 and Kentucky commit Tyler Ulis (Marian Catholic), No. 46 and Gonzaga commit Josh Perkins (Huntington Prep), No. 61 and Michigan St. commit Lourawis Nairn (Sunrise Christian Academy), and No. 68 and Providence commit Jalen Lindsey (Huntington Prep).
Lyles and Arsenal Technical are playing at 7:30 Saturday night, and Ulis and Marian Catholic close out the event with the 9 p.m. game. UK coach John Calipari is expected to attend both games.
Tickets are available at Mustangmadnesstournament.com.
Call James D. Horne, a Sun sports writer, at 270-575-8661 or follow @bigdog_jamesd on Twitter.
Session 1 - Today
4:00 p.m. Paducah Tilghman girls vs. Union City (TN)
5:30 p.m. McCracken County girls vs. Webster County
7:00 p.m. McCracken County boys vs. Goreville (IL)
8:30 p.m. Huntington Prep (VA) vs. Our Savior New American (NY)
Session 2 - Friday
5:00 p.m. Chicago Currie (IL) vs. Villa Angela St. Joseph (OH)
6:30 p.m. Dallas Prime Prep (TX) vs. Sunrise Christian Academy (KS)
8:00 p.m. The Carlisle School (VA) vs. Our Savior New American (NY)
9:30 p.m. St. Mary High School vs. Chicago Orr (IL)
Session 3 - Saturday
9:00 a.m. Marshall County girls vs. Goreville (IL)
10:30 a.m. McCracken girls vs. Massac County (IL)
12:00 p.m. Marshall County boys vs. Massac County (IL)
1:30 p.m. Murray High School girls vs. Graves County
3:00 p.m. McCracken County boys vs. Covington Holmes
Session 4 - Saturday
4:30 p.m. Quality Education vs. Evangelical Christian (TN)
6:00 p.m. The Carlisle School (VA) vs. Sunrise Christian Academy (KS)
7:30 p.m. Arsenal Tech (IN) vs. Villa Angela St. Joseph (OH)
9:00 p.m. Lausanne Collegiate (TN) vs. Marian Catholic High School