Is There A Method To The (Midnight) Madness? Reviewing the ACC Events This Season…

Posted by ARowe on October 8th, 2012

Every year in the middle of October, college basketball fans get their first sweet taste of honey — the first official practice of the upcoming season. This used to be an unceremonious start to the college basketball year until October 15, 1971. At 12:03 AM that morning, Maryland head basketball coach (and former Duke center) Lefty Driesell had his players report for a one and a half mile run around the track at Byrd Stadium that was watched by 3,000 rabid fans. In 1982, the University of Kentucky officially dubbed the event “Midnight Madness” and the tradition spread like wildfire around the never-ending Keeping Up With The Jones’ culture surrounding college athletics.

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In the past, these events were typically only attended by the most obsessed basketball fans around the country, willing to stay up past midnight to catch a glimpse of their favorite players. Layup lines (a boring, repetitive practice that no one even watches before real games), scrimmages (who do you root against?) and skits that dress up power forwards in tutus dominate the itinerary. In 2005, the NCAA allowed schools to move up the time of the first practice to 7 PM on the closest Friday to October 15. This allowed these made-for-primetime showcases to actually take place in prime time. ESPN now televises these glorified scrimmages across their family of networks, dispatching their TV analysts and color commentators to the blue blood programs and up-and-coming schools to hype up their viewers for the season to come. Schools use the events to showcase their program to recruits, who often schedule their visits to schools during this weekend.

Around the ACC, different schools have taken different approaches to the “Midnight Madness” festivities and often refer to the first public practice by a different name. This year, for the first time I can remember, schools are even spreading out the event on different days. This change may be due to the newer, relaxed practice time rules which took effect for the first time this offseason.

Last fall, the NCAA finally voted in legislation that states college coaches can spend two hours per week training and practicing with their players so long as the players are enrolled in summer school.

Thus, the rush to bring their players together for as much practice time as possible, even at the expense of sleep when they’re in the thick of school, is not as pressing. Looking around the conference, it seems there is a new method to Midnight Madness.

Boston College

Ice Jam

No Date Announced


Rock the ‘John

Friday, October 19th at 8:00 PM


Countdown to Craziness

Friday, October 19th at 8:00 PM

Florida State

Seminole Madness

Friday, October 12th at 7 PM

Georgia Tech

Jacket Jam

Sunday, October 21st from 3-6 PM


Maryland Madness

Friday, October 12th at 7 PM



Nothing Scheduled

North Carolina

Late Night With Roy

Friday, October 12th at 7:30 PM

North Carolina State

Primetime With The Pack

Friday, October 12th at 7 PM



Nothing Scheduled

Virginia Tech


Nothing Scheduled

Wake Forest

Black and Gold Madness

Saturday, October 13th at 8 PM

Additional Thoughts:

  • Of the 12 current ACC members, only Miami, Virginia and Virginia Tech do not have an event scheduled to celebrate the first public practice. Boston College will host its annual “Ice Jam,” but no date or time has been set at the time of this posting.
  • While Tobacco Road neighbors NC State and UNC will have their events on the same night, Duke will host its event one week later.
  • Duke may have postponed its “Countdown to Craziness” celebration so it can host more recruits than they could a week earlier. With most schools around the country hosting recruits on the 12th, the 19th will likely be an open date for a number of kids the school is recruiting. This date also happens to coincide with the Duke-UNC football game in Wallace Wade (which occurs the next day.)
  • Only one school uses their coach’s name in the event, UNC (Late Night With Roy).
  • Of the top six schools in the league last year, only Virginia and Miami do not have a scheduled celebration.
ARowe (7 Posts)

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