SEC Midnight Madness CoveragePosted by KAlmekinder on October 8th, 2012
Welcome to the SEC Microsite season preview! In the next five weeks we will be covering all of the important topics for the upcoming 2012-13 college basketball season in the SEC. Check back frequently for daily news stories and everything you need to know for the year ahead.
The unofficial kickoff to the college basketball season is Midnight Madness, a once literal practice at midnight created by Lefty Driesell and the Maryland Terrapins in 1971 to start the season reps as early as possible. On Friday, the 41st year of “madness” will kick off with many unique styles and antics across the country. Let’s take a look at the Midnight Madness events taking place in the SEC.
- Arkansas – Bud Walton Arena will play host to the annual “Primetime at the Palace” for the Arkansas Razorbacks on Friday night. The event at 8 PM CT will involve an autograph session, dunk contest, and scrimmage by both men’s and women’s teams. Razorback fans are encouraged to donate food items for local food pantries in the Fayetteville area. Head coach Mike Anderson returns two-thirds of his scoring from last year, including the SEC’s leading freshmen scorer BJ Young as well as junior Marshawn Powell, who missed nearly all of last season due to injury.
- Georgia – For the first time in a decade, Midnight Madness returns to Athens. Dubbed “BasketBASH,” both the Georgia men’s and women’s teams will spend three hours practicing and signing autographs for the public on Friday. Other activities such as raffles and inflatables for children will be at the free event, starting at 7 PM ET at Stegeman Coliseum. Athletic Director Greg McGarity stated in late September that both Mark Fox and Andy Landers were excited about the opportunity and wanted to take a chance on the availability for such an event; Georgia football is on a bye this week. Coach Fox is hoping to rebound from a dismal 15-17 record last year while ranking in the lower half of the SEC in many statistical categories.
- Kentucky – Kentucky’s Big Blue Madness is one of the most famous and anticipated Madness events, and for good reason. Not only do fans camp out days before tickets go on sale to watch the Friday night practice, but the remaining seats are bought online in a half hour. The Wildcat faithful pack Rupp Arena to see their squad in action with unique player introductions (John Wall Dance in 2010), high flying dunks, and a light scrimmage. Rumored to be in attendance this year are recent 2013 verbal commitments Andrew and Aaron Harrison, 2014 top recruits Andrew Wiggins, JaQuan Lyle, and Cliff Alexander, as well as rapper Rick Ross for the entertainment. If that wasn’t enough, UK Women’s Basketball head coach Matthew Mitchell has spiced things up by performing the “Dougie” and imitating Michael Jackson to kick off the past two years’ events. Surely he has one in stock for this year. Gangnam Style, perhaps? Fans will have the opportunity to catch a glimpse at the reloaded Wildcats roster after their National Championship run and NBA exodus last year. Coverage for Big Blue Madness will be on both ESPN3 and ESPNU.
- Mississippi State – Mississippi State is planning a 3 -on-3 tournament in Downtown Starkville at 6 PM CT on Friday. According to the Jackson (MS) Clarion-Ledger blog, the “Maroon Madness” will offer a 3-point contest and a dunk contest. First year head coach Rick Ray stated the event, in junction with the city of Starkville’s PumpkinPalooza, “will be a win-win for everyone. I know our players are excited and this will be a great opportunity to mingle with our fans in a different environment.” Autographs are to follow the event.
- Missouri – The Tigers’ successful 30-5 campaign last year has propelled them to be only one of seven schools on Friday to have Midnight Madness broadcast in its entirety live on ESPN3. Mizzou Madness will start at 7 PM CT. Second year head coach Frank Haith describes the excitement of the festivities and the hostile venue at Mizzou in the official press release from the university. Player introductions, skits, and scrimmages will give Tiger fans a look at the 2012-13 squad, including several transfers that are expected to keep Missouri at the high level of recent success.
The remaining programs across the SEC have not yet released any information about a Madness-type event or have chose not to host it and focus on official practices over the weekend.