College Hoops Midnight Madness: Origins, Traditions, Current Highlights

You know what today is?

The official start of college basketball season as Midnight Madness gets underway at numerous schools all across the country. Madness is an annual event on college campuses celebrating the first day in mid-October that the NCAA permits formal, official basketball practices. The event’s name originates from those specific events that start at midnight- the very first moment it’s allowed.

Today, I attended a Chicago college basketball media luncheon featuring all five city teams (DePaul, Loyola, UIC, Northwestern and Chicago St.). One of the coaches mentioned on dais that midnight madness began with legendary Maryland coach Lefty Driesell turning his car’s headlights on in the parking lot and making his Terps players run outside.

So I thought I would look it up; and see how it led to where we are today when it comes to this tradition.

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College Basketball Officially Begins Tonight


345 NCAA Division I men’s basketball teams begin their journey on the road they hope will culminate at the Final Four, as official practices will be conducted all across the country this weekend.

Many teams and their fans will gather across the country in arenas late Friday night to celebrate Midnight Madness, the annual celebration that marks the start to the season.  Practices are permitted to begin after 5 p.m. Friday.

A Snoop Dogg Concert accompanies Northwestern’s event this evening.

ESPNU will televise its Midnight Madness special featuring extensive whip-around coverage from top college basketball programs around the nation Friday at 9 p.m. ET.  Coverage will focus on several men’s programs including defending national champion Duke, as well as Kentucky, Memphis, Gonzaga, Kansas State and St. John’s. (No doubt because former ESPN personality Steve Lavin is now leading the program).

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