Midnight Madness Postmortem Across the NationPosted by rtmsf on October 17th, 2010
You may have heard that a little thing called Midnight Madness went down Friday night in packed gyms across the college basketball landscape. From Duke to Kentucky to Marquette to Kansas to Gonzaga to even little ol’ Cal Tech (ok, they celebrated Thursday, but give ’em a break, they’ve lost 300 conference games in a row), fans filed into arenas to celebrate the return of roundball. Despite the fact that we remain on the record that MM has lost its uniqueness over the years and could stand to get back to its roots, we’ll admit that even the over-produced pyrotechnic-style monstrosities we saw on the tube enabled a few pangs of excitement in our tummy. How can it not? After all, bad college basketball is still college basketball, and from the perspective that the Madness is a celebration of the sport, we’re completely on board with that.
Make sure that you check out our Boom Goes the Dynamite from Friday night where we commented on all the goings-on where we could find them in real time. Today’s postmortem will share some of the biggest highlights we noted from the evening. If you think we missed something major, send us a tip at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet at us @rushthecourt.
Duke’s Countdown to Craziness was, as expected, a celebration of the 2010 national champions, replete with the unfurling of Coach K’s fourth national championship banner and a collection of hardware at center court (starting at the 1:15 mark).
Those championship rings are HUGE! We much prefer seeing Nolan Smith this way instead of the creepy-as-hell video he did at last year’s CTC.
As we referred to last night, Jacob Pullen has only trimmed the beloved beard, not shaved it, so major meltdown averted there. As if he wasn’t already one of our favorite players in the country, Pullen further endeared himself to us by running around in the scrimmage with his jogging pants still on. He looked like a cross between Barack Obama and somebody’s uncle out there; that is, until he started draining 28-footers with ease. The other big news of the night was the announcement that the school will be building a new $20M practice facility, showing that the Wildcats have no designs on losing their hoops momentum of recent years.
This clip is from the introduction at Madness in Manhattan, and it features the cast of ABC comedy Modern Family all wearing Kansas State gear around the set and studio lot — Eric Stonestreet (“Cameron”) is a K-State alum. Apologies for the smallness of the video, but if you try, you can just make out Ty Burrell’s (“Phil”) cap which says “Screw KU” on it. Not to mention that there’s a Sofia Vergara (“Gloria”) in a t-shirt sighting at the 2:07 mark, which means we’re going to have to put John Stevens back on his calming pills.
MSU went with the astronaut theme because the Final Four will be in Houston this season (pretty hokey if you ask us), but the coolest part of their event was having 300 star Gerard Butler show up to ask the Breslin Center crowd “Spartans, what is your profession?” Tom Izzo in the background looked positively giddy while Butler was doing this thing out there; can you imagine what his face would look like in Cleveland right about now?
Unfortunately, it wasn’t all fun and games in East Lansing last night as Draymond Green injured his foot and will be held out of practice for a week or so. The MSU M*A*S*H unit begins anew, it seems.
Big Blue Madness in Lexington is always a major production, and this year was no different. The coolest thing we saw from this one was currently-ineligible Turkish center Enes Kanter’s grand entrance as The Undertaker from Smackdown fame. We’re trying really hard to resist the obvious joke about faking it in both realms concerning his eligibility and the wrestling world here.
BIAH files this report from Georgetown:
For four hours on a mid-October night, the 2,000-person McDonough gymnasium had a Big East Tournament atmosphere to it. Less than twenty minutes of actual basketball was played, but the faithful Georgetown Hoya fans did not seem to mind. The event was highlighted by a performance from hip-hop sensation Wale, who is a DC native and an avid Hoya fan. A ceremony was held in honor of Greg Monroe, who declared early for the 2010 NBA draft and was selected 7th overall by the Detroit Pistons. His jersey was placed on the back-wall of McDonough Gymnasium along side other famous Hoyas like Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning, Roy Hibbert, Jeff Green and DaJuan Summers. When the Men’s team was finally introduced, the gymnasium nearly exploded. Freshman Nate Lubick entered to a Enrique Iglesias song and received one of the largest ovations of the night. Chris Wright and Austin Freeman, senior co-captains were introduced last, followed by John Thompson who took center court and did a quick dance-number to the tune of some Frankie Beverly. Once the theatrics ended, the Hoyas took the floor for a few minutes, and the crowd slowly started to disperse. Freshman Aaron Bowen threw down a handful of spectacular dunks. It can also be noted that sophomore Jerielle Benimon looks in much better physical shape this year. The festivities ended right before midnight as Wale came back out for one more performance. He took his performance to the stands, where he was instantly mobbed with fans poking and prodding at him. At one point, a fan stole the hat right off of his head. Wale didn’t even realize it until he tried to make his way back to the court. It’s doubtful Wale ever saw his hat again.
KU’s ten-minute pre-introduction “Dream On” video was absolutely sick. The production values of these things are ridiculous. No wonder it’s so important to have recruits come in for Midnight Madness — it’s very difficult to watch something like that and not sign over whatever they’re asking you to relinquish.
As cool as the above was, this… well this… where Bill Self enters Allen Fieldhouse as Vanilla Ice and several of the players as Boyz II Men is just horrifying.
A few others:
Steve Lavin’s first MM in Queens was a rousing affair that had one of the refs breaking out into dance.
Tubby Smith roared into the arena on a hog. Trevor Mbakwe then proceeded to dunk over it.
Deep inside, we have to believe that Roy Williams secretly wishes he was a dancer. This choreography stuff goes on every year in Chapel Hill.
Maryland Madness’ Top Gun spoof wasn’t all that original, but this is worth watching just to hear the fan in the background lamenting Gary Williams at the beginning of the clip followed by repeated comments thereafter. It’s highly reminiscent of the annoying patron who won’t shut up in the movie theater — what are you doing, Gary?!?!
Josh Pastner’s young Memphis studs looked awfully impressive last night — here they are getting introduced to the packed FedEx Forum.