Midnight Madness 2018: Schedule for Top NCAA Basketball Teams

Nate Loop@Nate_LoopFeatured ColumnistSeptember 28, 2018

Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo addresses the crowd during the team's NCAA college basketball Madness event, Friday, Oct. 14, 2016, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)
Al Goldis/Associated Press

It's the tip-off before the first tip-off.

Well before the first game is played, some of the top college basketball programs around the country will get their fans pumped up for the upcoming season with Midnight Madness.

The big-time schools introduce their new players in what usually ends up as a mash-up of a practice, pep rally and extended pre-game introduction routine as if each player were trying to generate the hype of a pay-per-view boxer's ring walk. Perhaps a shoot-around will get fit in somewhere, for better or for worse

The moniker is a bit of a misnomer, as many of these pre-season hype events don't take place anywhere close to midnight anymore.

Here's a look at when some of the top programs hold their versions of Midnight Madness and what folks can look forward to. A more comprehensive list of times can be found thanks to 247Sports' Kevin Flaherty.


Kansas (Late Night in the Phog): Friday, Sept. 28 at 7:30 p.m. ET

Richard Shotwell/Associated Press

In 2016, Kansas brought in rapper Tech N9ne for a show. Last year, it was a performance by Atlanta-based rapper Lil Yachty. This year, they are going with another Southern rapper in 2 Chainz, per the Kansas City Star's Gary Bedore. Kansas head coach Bill Self apparently has a thing or two to learn about 2 Chainz, aka Tauheed Epps, since he wasn't able to come up with a favorite song.

"Basically, at this point in time, they are all tied for first and probably all tied for last in my book," he said, per Bedore. "I bet you by tomorrow I'll have a favorite. If you ask me tomorrow, I'll be able to sing a lyric or two—no, rap a lyric or two."

Self has been focused on guiding the Jayhawks to basketball glory since 2003, so you can forgive him for missing 2 Chainz's rise into mainstream prominence. 2 Chainz did play college basketball in the mid- to late 90s, so perhaps this will be a chance for him to show Self and his new squad a thing or two.


Indiana (Hoosier Hysteria): Sept. 29, 4 p.m. ET

Indiana's love affair with basketball is well-documented, and few teams are as beloved as the Hoosiers. This video tells you pretty much all you need to know about the kind of fun they have at the biggest program in this basketball-wild state:


Kentucky (Big Blue Madness): Oct. 12, 7 p.m. ET

Tickets for Big Blue Madness are available Friday, and students are already camping out and getting pizzas from the team, per the Lexington Herald-Leader.

No Drake this time (probably).
No Drake this time (probably).James Crisp/Associated Press

Head coach John Calipari has brought in yet another recruiting class overflowing with NBA-bound talent, including E.J. Montgomery, Ashton Hagan and Keldon Johnson. Wildcats basketball is a consistently great source of entertainment, and this year's Big Blue Madness should live up to the hype.

Unfortunately, Drake might not be at Rupp Arena this year to dubiously insert himself into Big Blue Madness lore.


Memphis (Memphis Madness): Oct. 4, 7 p.m. ET

Memphis hasn't reached the NCAA tournament since the 2013-14 season. The days when the program reigned supreme under Calipari and Josh Pastner are over. But fear not, Tigers faithful. There is a chance Memphis may outshine every other college program before the season even begins. 

According to 92.9 FM ESPN's John Martin and Jason Smith, Memphis Madness has a ridiculous guest list:

As SI.com's Jenna West reported, Yo Gotti has performed at the event before, so there's a good chance he's there again. As mentioned, Drake is known to show up at Kentucky's events, so maybe he wants to start fresh somewhere else. Justin Timberlake is a Memphis native, so why not?

If even one of those celebrities Martin and Smith named shows up, it's going to be a big deal. So no pressure, first-year head coach Penny Hardaway. 


Michigan State: Oct. 5, 9:30 p.m. ET

It's exciting to see the players and all, but Spartans head coach Tom Izzo is quite the character and knows how to make an entrance

Sure you can get players' autographs and watch practice and have fun with your friends, but it's all about Izzo, who sets the table better than any coach in the country with his funny entrances and costume choices. 


North Carolina (Late Night with Roy): Oct. 12, 7:30 p.m. ET

Timothy D. Easley/Associated Press

Hands down, North Carolina is the winner for the best name of any of these hype shows. Yes, yes, we get it. It's "madness," it's "crazy," etc. But Late Night with Roy just has a fantastic ring to it, made that much better because it applies to outspoken and animated coach Roy Williams. At the very least, let's hope we can get a classic GIF out of this event to add to the Williams collection.


Duke (Countdown to Craziness): Oct. 19, 7 p.m. ET

DURHAM, NC - OCTOBER 20: High school basketball player Zion Williamson (Spartanburg Day School - Spartanburg, SC) attends Duke Countdown To Craziness at Cameron Indoor Stadium on October 20, 2017 in Durham, North Carolina. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Image
Lance King/Getty Images

This will be a big party for the Blue Devils, who are set to introduce the top-ranked recruiting class in 2018. R.J. Barrett, Zion Williamson and Cam Reddish headline a star-studded class that will make the rest of the college basketball world tremble.

Williamson's already been caught unleashing some righteous dunks this summer, and Barrett—the top recruit in the nation and an early favorite to go No. 1 overall in the 2019 NBA draft—is no slouch, either.

The Cameron Crazies are looking like the early favorites to have more fun than any other student section this season.


Recruiting information based on 247Sports' rankings.


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