Starting Tomorrow, We’re Talkin’ About PracticesPosted by jstevrtc on October 14th, 2010
Fall is the most appropriately named season. It is called that because the sun is falling below the celestial equator, for you amateur astronomers out there, but poets and writers far better than this one have described so many other reasons throughout time to illustrate why fall is known as the “season of descent” — the decreasing number of daylight hours, the leaves, the mercury in your thermometer, the amount of filler material on SportsCenter. Of the few things that do indeed rise at this time of year, one of them has become one of surest signs that fall has arrived…
True, in the Driesellian sense, nobody has true “Midnight Madness” anymore. And there’s so much more interaction now between coaches and players that happens prior to that circled mid-October day where once none was allowed. It doesn’t matter, because the psychosis to which college basketball aficionados across the nation willingly give in is real, and it arrives tomorrow.
That’s right, tomorrow. A big black “x” in the October 15th square on your wall calendar means that hoopheads are celebrating their own national holiday, which, inasmuch as it isn’t real Midnight Madness, we’ll call the First Official Day of Practice (FODP). Like it or not, the NCAA still calls the shots, and if they say that that particular day is open season for full-squad, you-can-use-a-ball workouts to begin, then celebrate we will, for the season is short but sweet for certain (apologies to Dave and the boys).
As alluded to earlier, in previous years, the FODP’s arrival would entail fans and students packing their squads’ arenas and gyms at night and enduring hours of events — seriously, everything from relay races to impersonation contests — all leading up to a midnight practice, and usually a dunk contest and scrimmage that would last for an hour or so. In other words, a true Midnight Madness. The NCAA’s relaxation of the rules to allow individual workouts and supervised conditioning prior to the FODP has taken some of the air out of the day, and, while many programs still celebrate it on the night of the FODP with everything from simple layup lines and autographs to massive gala affairs that would impress Pink Floyd’s laser and pyrotechnics crew, others prefer to have similar events at later dates, and some choose not to mark the occasion at all. As far as what you can actually see tomorrow, you already know what’s in store for you tomorrow on ESPN-U, God love ‘em. In our constant quest to keep our faithful RTC readers informed, we went through last season’s 65-team NCAA Tournament bracket and listed each school by FODP celebration status. The links will take you to the “public practice” announcements on the official sites of each team (all times local):
Programs with events on October 15th (19):
- Kansas – Late Night in the Phog, 6:30-10:30 PM at Allen Fieldhouse.
- Duke – Countdown to Craziness at Cameron Indoor Stadium, featuring the unfurling of the 2009-10 championship banner. Doors open at 6:30 PM. One of ESPN-U’s featured schools.
- Kentucky – Big Blue Madness, 6:00-9:30 PM at Rupp Arena. Another event featured on ESPN-U’s coverage.
- West Virginia — Mountaineer Madness, 6:30 PM at WVU Coliseum, featuring the unfurling of the Big East Championship and Final Four banners.
- Kansas State — Madness in Manhattan, 7:00-9:00 PM at Bramlage Coliseum. You’ll see them on ESPN-U, too.
- Texas A&M — Maroon Madness, 10:30 PM at Kyle Field. This is a true late-night event.
- Georgetown — Midnight Madness at McDonough Arena; wristband distribution for Georgetown students begins at 6:00 PM.
- Gonzaga — Kraziness in the Kennel at the McCarthey Athletic Center, 6:30 PM. Will be featured on ESPN-U.
- Maryland — Maryland Madness at Comcast Center, starting at around 7:45 PM.
- Michigan State — Midnight Madness at the Breslin Center, featuring the raising of their 2010 Final Four banner; doors open at 9:30 PM.
- Marquette — Marquette Madness at the Al McGuire Center, starting at 7:00 PM.
- Clemson – Rock the ‘John at Littlejohn Coliseum, 7:30 PM.
- UNLV — FirstLook 2010 at the Thomas & Mack Center, 7:00 PM.
- Florida State — Jam With Ham at Tully Gym, 6:00 PM (they’re giving away iPods and free rent, by the way).
- Minnesota — Tubby’s Tipoff at Williams Arena, 10:00 PM. Doors open at 8:30 PM.
- Oakland — Grizz Madnezz at the Athletics Center O’Rena from 8:00-9:00 PM.
- Ohio University — Hardwood Hysteria, 7:00 PM at the Convocation Center.
- Morgan State — Late Night With Morgan State Basketball at Hill Field House, 8:00 PM.
- UC-Santa Barbara — Ten O’Clock Thunder, the Thunderdome, time obvious.
Programs with first-practice events at later dates (12):
- Syracuse — AmeriCU Midnght Madness. Friday October 22, 7:30 PM, Carrier Dome. Naughty By Nature is in the house.
- Villanova – Friday October 22, the Pavilion.
- Xavier – Musketeer Madness (combined event for men’s/women’s teams). Saturday October 23, Cintas Center. Events start at 4:00 PM.
- Wisconsin — Wisconsin Basketball Fieldhouse Madness. Saturday October 16, 2:00 PM, UW Field House. UW vs Ohio State football game follows afterward at Camp Randall Stadium.
- Oklahoma State – Homecoming & Hoops. Friday October 22, 9:00 PM, Gallagher-Iba Arena. Part of OSU’s homecoming festivities; combined event for men’s and women’s teams.
- BYU — Cougar Tipoff, Wednesday October 27th, 7:00 PM, Marriott Center.
- Louisville — Red-White Scrimmage. Sunday October 24, 5:00 PM, KFC Yum! Center.
- St. Mary’s — Will hold an event later in October, TBA.
- Georgia Tech — Hoopsfest. Friday October 22, 6:30-8:30 PM, Alexander Memorial Coliseum.
- Murray State — Will hold an event later in October, TBA.
- Vermont — Will hold “Mid-day Madness” later in October, TBA.
- Wofford — Open Practice (combined event for both men’s/women’s teams) at Benjamin Johnson Arena. Tuesday October 19, 6:30-800 PM.
Schools who were in last year’s NCAA Tournament who have no event scheduled (34):
- Ohio State
- New Mexico
- Notre Dame
- Wake Forest
- Northern Iowa
- Old Dominion
- San Diego State
- Utah State
- New Mexico State
- North Texas
- East Tennessee State
- Sam Houston State
- Robert Morris
- Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Other notable programs holding FODP events who didn’t quite make it to the NCAA Tournament last year:
- Memphis — Memphis Madness at FedExForum, 6:30-9:30 PM. One of ESPN-U’s featured schools.
- North Carolina — Late Night With Roy at the Dean E. Smith Center, 6:30 (doors open)-10:00 PM. Hosted by ESPN’s Stuart Scott, a UNC alum.
- St. John’s – Red Storm Tip-Off at Carnesecca Arena, 7:00 PM. Hosted by ESPN’s John Anderson (also of Wipeout fame).
- Indiana — Hoosier Hysteria at Assembly Hall, 6:00 PM, featuring several former IU stars.
Even if your school isn’t planning on having any kind of festivity to celebrate the FODP, take heart. It doesn’t mean they aren’t serious about hoops (just ask Butler). This is big-picture time, you see. What’s important right now is the time, not the place. Starting tomorrow, we begin that acceleration down the metaphysical playground slide that laucnhes us into winter. The days will fall down and rest of the sports world will begin to progressively sadden and feel the effects of decreasing amounts of precious serotonin (or, in their eyes, football) in their collective brain. As college basketball fans, this is not our fate. After all…we have Bill Raftery.
We’ve all been through a lot since Duke planted its flag in Indianapolis — almost an entire baseball season, Isner-Mahut, conference realignment (less than predicted), the Pitino scandal, the World Cup, the situation in Storrs, the Brad Stevens sweepstakes, slight expansion of the NCAA Tournament, a month and a half of college and pro football, more conference realignment, Lakers/Celtics, the Decision and the Backlash, a Ryder Cup, text message addictions, and the death of our game’s biggest icon, just to name a few. It’s been a long summer, but for now, the road that will eventually lead us to Houston delivers us here, the eve of the FODP. So enjoy this final day in which we cannot realistically say that our game is in season. Wake up tomorrow, look at our Midnight Madness countdown clock, smile, and realize — it’s our time. Congratulations, friends. We made it.