Midnight Madness arrives Friday, and college basketball couldn't have arrived any sooner. Rivalries, unbelievable crowds, buzzer-beaters, passion, excitement, enthusiasm, great coaching.
The list goes on and on.
Midnight Madness may not be what it used to be, but for basketball fans, it represents another year of great basketball being played how it should be.
ESPN is showcasing 14 schools Friday night, and here is where you can watch the festivities:
Complete Midnight Madness schedule for October 12 (via ESPN)
Indiana with Jay Williams and Dan Dakich (ESPN3 at 5 p.m. ET)
What to watch for: Tom Crean's Indiana team returned to its glory days last season—minus the national championship, of course. It was the year Indiana hoped for as the Hoosiers went 27-9.
The Hoosiers are only expected to rise in 2012-13. This could be the year Indiana completely returns to prominence with a national championship.
Cody Zeller, Christian Watford, Maurice Creek, Jordan Hulls and others return to make what many think will be a lengthy tournament run.
Watch out for the Hoosiers this year.
NC State with Bruce Pearl (ESPN3 at 7 p.m. ET)
What to watch for: Mark Gottfried's NC State squad will be looking to take that next step in 2012-13. Gottfried continues to improve the recruiting off the floor and coaching on the floor since taking the job.
His recruiting class in 2012 was superb with Rodney Purvis, T.J. Warren and Tyler Lewis, and the additions will be great assistance to likely first-round NBA Draft pick Lorenzo Brown.
St. John's with Tarik Turner (ESPN3 at 7 p.m. ET)
What to watch for: Replacing Moe Harkless' ability to score the basketball (15.3 points per game) and his rebounding (8.6 rebounds per game) won't be an easy task. Several players will be called upon to step up their game in order to make up that difference.
But there is one man who will put St. John's on his back on the offensive end, and that's D'Angelo Harrison, the Red Storm's leading scorer at 16.8 points per game. The 6'3" guard can fill it up offensively, and with Harkless in the NBA, this is his showcase season.
Florida State with Jacob Ridenhour (ESPN3 at 7 p.m. ET)
What to watch for: Leonard Hamilton's ability to coach defense is second to none in the country. His defense plays hard, plays physical and the team prides itself on that side of the floor.
On offense, however, they have struggled in recent years. In 2011-12, Florida State was 124th in points per game, scoring just shy of 70 points.
Michael Snaer, Florida State's leading scorer last year at 14.5 points per game, will look to be the senior leader this season.
Will he be able to carry the load offensively? That's going to be a huge question mark this season.
Kentucky with Jimmy Dykes (ESPN3 at 7:30 p.m. ET)
What to watch for: Kentucky doesn't recruit, they reload. As with many great recruiters, John Calipari understands kids coming out of high school, and he knows that he can provide a ticket to the NBA.
Kids want to play in the NBA. Who doesn't? Calipari can provide that, and despite losing the majority of his team to the NBA, Calipari will find a way to have a solid campaign in Lexington.
Keep an eye on top recruits Nerlens Noel, Alex Poythress, Archie Goodwin and Willie Cauley. These players will be asked to do more in their freshman season than most in college basketball.
Expect sophomore Kyle Wiltjer to play a much bigger role than he did in his freshman season. With that experience under his belt and more playing time, Wiltjer should have a solid year in more than just shooting from the perimeter.
North Carolina with Doris Burke (ESPN3 at 7:30 p.m. ET)
What to watch for: It almost seemed like North Carolina was destined to fall short of the national championship last year. Injuries and players underperforming destroyed their chances.
With Harrison Barnes, Kendall Marshall, Tyler Zeller and John Henson in the NBA, this year will come with much lower expectations.
But also, with those players gone, it opens up doors for several other players including James Michael McAdoo. This is one of the biggest reasons he came back to North Carolina—to make more of a name for himself to NBA scouts.
The floor is all his.
Syracuse with Dino Gaudio (ESPN3 at 8 p.m. ET)
What to watch for: Syracuse will have several players who will take on bigger roles this season compared to last year. Brandon Triche will be under the microscope more, C.J. Fair will be asked to be more of a scorer with his great athleticism and James Southerland will receive more minutes than any year of his career.
DaJuan Coleman, the Orange's No. 1 rated prospect, will look to turn heads for the Orange this year. Coleman will have every opportunity to become one of the best freshmen in the country, not just the Big East.
Missouri with Stephen Bardo (ESPN3 at 8 p.m. ET)
What to watch for: Missouri's end to the 2011-12 season was one to forget. A second-round loss when you're playing the No. 15 seed should bring shame, but that shame will look to be rectified this season.
Phil Pressey, Michael Dixon Jr. and a host of others will combine with four transfers, three who can play right away. One of those transfers is Alex Oriakhi, former Connecticut forward/center who brings a load of experience to a front court that needed help desperately.
Pittsburgh with Bill Raftery (ESPN3 at 10 p.m. ET)
What to watch for: Pittsburgh didn't do anything last year worthy of recognizing. It was the worst Pittsburgh season in the Jamie Dixon era, and this season could be close to that one.
Khem Birch transferred during the season last year, three-point stud Ashton Gibbs graduated, and Pittsburgh returns players who struggle to score the ball. And their defense, a defense that is generally good, struggled immensely last year.
Tray Woodall will have to play the best basketball of his career as the floor general, super recruit Steven Adams will have to be everything advertised and then some, and Dante Taylor and the frontcourt has to play big.
Big questions heading into the season.
It's going to be an interesting year for Pittsburgh this year, but never count out Dixon's ability to get his players to play to the maximum.
Georgetown with Tim Welsh (only on ESPNU)
What to watch for: Otto Porter and the Hoyas will look to score the ball more efficiently in 2012-13. Last year, they put too much pressure on their defense, and it burned them in the end.
This year, after losing talented offensive weapons, Georgetown's ability on the offensive side of the floor will be a major key to watch for.
Maryland with Len Elmore (only on ESPNU)
What to watch for: Terrell Stoglin inexplicably decided to enter the 2012 NBA Draft as a scoring 6'1" guard. That didn't work out too well.
Now, Maryland is searching for scoring options under head coach Mark Turgeon.
Maryland will lean heavily on freshmen like Shaquille Cleare, Sam Cassell, Jr. and Jake Layman to give the Terrapins a fresh spark this season.
Baylor (men and women) with Fran Fraschilla (only on ESPNU)
What to watch for: Connecticut and Baylor may be the only places in America where the women's basketball team outshines the men's basketball team. I guess that depends on who you talk to.
Pierre Jackson and Brady Heslip will look to lead the Baylor men to another winning season, and Brittney Griner will lead the Bears to another quality season.
Baylor has turned into one of the best basketball programs in the country.
Murray State with Miles Simon (only on ESPNU)
What to watch for: If you want to watch one of the best scoring guards in the country, and a guy who can light it up 25 feet from the hoop, check out Murray State senior guard Isaiah Canaan.
Murray State and Canaan jumped on the national landscape this past season, and people are expecting them to continue their success this year.
Kansas with Sean Farnham (only on ESPNU)
What to watch for: Bill Self and his Kansas Jayhawks bring a wealth of talent back to the floor this year to go along with talented freshmen.
Jeff Withey turned it on in his junior season, and with a big 7'0" frame, expect his name to be called early in the 2013 NBA Draft if he can replicate his season last year.
Kansas will once again contend for the Big 12 championship, just like every year.
You can catch all of Midnight Madness on Watch ESPN and ESPNU.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!