College basketball usually lacks a significant start date, but for die-hard fans, Midnight Madness officially kicks off the college season.
The NCAA declared that on the Friday closest to Oct. 15, teams can officially start practicing, although few coaches actually use the allotted time for drills and such. Instead, Midnight Madness, which began with Lefty Driesell at Maryland in the early 70s, has transformed into a circus of dunk contests, intra-squad scrimmages, concerts and contests.
Coaches use the event as a selling point to recruits while also building buzz amongst the existing fanbase. Some of the most famous “practices” include those at Kentucky and Michigan State. Big Blue Nation often stuffs Rupp Arena with more than 23,000 fans while Spartans coach Tom Izzo has become known for his dramatic entrances.
This past year, he entered the Breslin Center dressed as Iron Man.
USAToday recently reported that the NCAA is considering adding two weeks to the preseason schedule which would bump Midnight Madness up and allow for more rest throughout the grueling preseason workouts. No matter, Midnight Madness will still be awesome.