We’re Talkin’ About Practices: 2011 EditionPosted by jstevrtc on October 14th, 2011
BEHOLD, friends, as the countdown clock approaches the all-zero for the first time this year, signifying the moment that we can at least say that practices are in session and our game has returned. The rocket has been moved to the launching pad and we’re about to light this candle, and just as launching a rocket into outer space is a process with many stages, so is getting a college basketball season off the ground. There’s Midnight Madness, or what might be more accurately called the First Official Day of Practice (FODP). The first exhibitions. The first official games. The ESPN 24-hour Marathon is considered a season-starting event. Our game, as we all know, has many Opening Days. That’s been a point of criticism from many sources in the past, including us. Let’s worry about that later. For now, let’s just prepare ourselves to enjoy the ride.
We’re going to be watching coverage and keeping track of the events around the country all evening, so feel free to tweet @rushthecourt and/or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have some great photos, videos or simply anecdotes and rumors to share.
Just like we provided last year, here is a list of last season’s NCAA Tournament teams and their status as far as holding FODP festivities:
Event on October 14th:
- Alabama State — Late Night Madness at Dunn-Oliver Acadome.
- Connecticut — UConn Basketball First Night. Prima noctis! Doors open and autograph session at 6 PM, and showtime with the defending champions begins at 7 PM.
- Duke — Countdown to Craziness. Scrimmage, dunk contest, live performances among other activities. And you know what? They got Raftery.
- Florida State — Jam With Ham at Seminole Madness, 6-8 PM. Dunk Contest, three-point contest, and free throw shooting contest that will include fans. Prizes to be given away include computers (whoa), flat-screen TVs (seriously?!?), and…well, just good ol’ cash money.
- George Mason — Mason Madness. Doors open at 9 PM at the Patriot Center.
- Georgetown — Midnight Madness at McDonough Arena. Doors open at 6 PM. Food provided by the Georgetown University Grilling Society. We simply had to mention that.
- Kansas — Late Night in the Phog. Skits by both men’s and women’s teams are always entertaining. Bring non-perishable food items, which Kansas Athletics will donate.
- Kentucky — Big Blue Madness. Doors at Rupp Arena open at 6 PM, the activities run for two hours starting at 7:30 PM. Details are very hush-hush on this one, but like some of the other seminal beasts of the game, UK tries to make it bigger and badder every year.
- Louisville — Full scrimmage at the KFC Yum! Center beginning at 7 PM.
- Marquette — Marquette Madness begins at 7 PM at the Al McGuire Center. Free T-shirts (which are freakin’ SWEET, by the way) for fans, and there’s also something called “ultimate karaoke.” Please tell us Buzz Williams is scheduled to take the mic.
- Memphis — Memphis Madness has events with both the men’s and women’s teams, including an autograph signing by the men’s team, scrimmages, dunk contest, three-point shootout, and live performance by rapper Rick Ross. 5-9 PM at FedExForum.
- Michigan State — Midnight Madness at the Breslin Center; doors open at 9:30 PM and the program begins at 10:30. No details on Tom Izzo’s wardrobe or method of conveyance have been released.
- North Carolina — Late Night With Roy begins at 8 PM at the Dean E. Smith Center. Not many details out on this one, either, but we wonder if we will ever again see the like of John Henson dancing in a UNC Snuggie.
- Northern Colorado — Bear Madness at Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion, 6 PM. Dunk contest, three-point contest between the men’s and women’s squads, and scrimages. And both teams will hang their Big Sky Conference Championship banners.
- Oakland — Countdown to Grizz Madnezz. Doors to the O’rena open at 10 PM. Mason, the public address announcer for the Detroit Pistons, is your MC for the evening.
- Saint John’s — Red Storm Tip-Off is termed as “a season opening celebration” (my word, that’s excellent) and it’s at 7 PM at Carnesecca Arena. A chance to win $50,000…or an iPad. A DJ spinning tunes. Free Nathan’s Hot Dogs. We assume Erin Sharoni will make an appearance, though the timing of this conflicts with her TV show on CNBC. So many media appearances…so little time.
- San Diego State — No big production here, but the Aztecs will run an open practice at 7 PM at the Viejas Center. You can actually get in as early as 5 PM to see the end of the women’s team practice.
- Syracuse — The part of the Orange version of midnight madness we’re looking forward to this most is the Legends Game. The rosters on this thing are impressive.
- Texas A&M — Maroon Madness at Kyle Field, held in conjunction with Midnight Yell Practice. Dunk contest, shooting and skills competitions done by class year. Gates open at 10:30 PM. The women’s team will also show off that new national championship trophy.
- Texas-San Antonio — Roadrunners Ruckus is set for 8 PM at the Convocation Center.
- UNC Asheville — Dunkin’ In the Doghouse. First-ever event of its kind for the school and a good way to christen new Kimmel Arena. Doors open at 6 PM.
- UNLV — In downtown Las Vegas, the Fremont Street Experience becomes “Runnin’ Rebel Experience” starting at 6 PM. The team will have a free public scrimmage two days later at the Thomas & Mack Center at 5:30 PM.
- Vanderbilt — Memorial Madness. Memorial Gym doors open at 8 PM with contests, scrimmages by men’s and women’s teams, three-point contest, and slam dunk contest.
- West Virginia — Mountaineer Madness at WVU Coliseum. Doors open at 6:30 PM and the program starts at 7:30. Not only will there be a scrimmage and an autograph session with all the players and coaches, but Deniz Kilicli will play “Country Roads” on the guitar after the scrimmage. This is not a joke.
Event on another day
- Arkansas-Little Rock — Meet the Trojans, November 1.
- Belmont — Meet the Bruins Night, October 27, 6 PM at the Curb Events Center.
- Cincinnati — Bearcat Caravan event at Salem Gardens. Q&A session with head coach Mick Cronin and autograph session with the team and coaching staff.
- Clemson — Rock the ‘John, October 21. Scrimmage and autograph sessions. Doors open at Littlejohn Coliseum at 6:30 PM.
- Gonzaga — Kraziness in the Kennel. October 22, 4 PM (doors open at 3) at McCarthey Athletic Center. Someone’s going to win $10,000, but to be eligible you have to go to a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory location and get a coupon. Mmmm…chocolate coupons…
- Illinois — Open practice/scrimmage on October 15 in conjunction with pre-game festivities before Illinois vs OSU football game. Assembly Hall doors open at noon.
- Missouri — Black & Gold Game, October 21. Doors open to Mizzou Arena at 6:30 PM with accompanying autograph session. Game begins at 8.
- Morehead State — Morehead Madness. October 19, 7 PM at Johnson Arena.
- Notre Dame — Irish Madness, October 21. Dick Vitale will act as emcee.
- Penn State — Hoops Madness at Rec Hall, November 2. Doors open at 7:30 PM. Among the prizes on offer: free laundry service for a year.
- Pittsburgh — The Fan Fest/Maggie Dixon Heart Health and Blue/Gold Scrimmage will be on October 22. It begins at 2:30 PM, and the scrimmage is at 5 PM. Vital sign and cholesterol screenings provided. That reads as if we’re trying to be funny, but we’re not, and frankly we love the concept.
- Temple — Cherry and White Night on November 3. McGonigle Hall at 7:30 PM.
- UC Santa Barbara — Downtown Basketball Huddle, 11:00 AM-1:30 PM at the Cabrillo Arts Pavilion.
- Villanova –“Hoops Mania” at 7 PM at the Pavilion on October 21, due to Fall Break for the students this week.
- Xavier — There is a men’s/women’s combined event on the Saturday of midnight madness weekend, with a FanFest preceding it.
- Brigham Young
- Boston University
- Kansas State
- Long Island University
- Ohio State
- Old Dominion
- St. Peter’s
- Southern California
- Utah State
Event or not, everyone’s aboard and strapped in, and so are we. We invite you to buy the ticket and join us for the ride — a trip through our favorite universe, an over-too-quickly journey through a galaxy of six big stars and 24 smaller ones that can burn just as intensely, yet another flight through a dimension that will never again appear as it does now. The engines are warming. On Friday night — ignition, and full thrust.