Northwestern Wins: A College Hoops Blog

An ode to Verne Lundquist’s calls and everything college basketball

Let The Madness Begin

Posted by Zach on October 17, 2008

No, not March Madness. This is October Madness, otherwise known as Midnight Madness. Sure, it’s only layup lines, dunk contests, dressed-up speeches and optimism abound, but it’s something. It’s college basketball. And for those diehards like us three who have been clamoring for the sound of sneakers squeaking against the newly-minted court ever since Kansas shocked Memphis last April, this is a holiday ranking just behind Thanksgiving, Opening Day and Yankee Elimination Day on my list.

I assume most of our limited readership that visits the site on a somewhat regular basis are college basketball nuts, as well. So you know exactly how I feel at this very moment. I’d like to think I’m not the only one who has November 10 circled on the calender (yes, even if it’s only Duke vs. Presbyterian), have checked out the non-conference tournaments more than once, purused Andy Katz blog every single day this summer and long for the sights and sounds that a college hoops game provides. The emotion, the passion and the intensity is simply unmatched, especially at the professional level.

Tonight is only the beginning. Some teams, like West Virginia, Kentucky and Illinois, have already had their massive celebration on campus (or on a football field). Most will take their place at the starting line tonight, and some of the most prestigious programs will be highlighted by exclusive ESPNU coverage, if you’re lucky enough to get that awesome channel. They’ll be featuring Gonzaga, Davidson, Kansas and Georgetown with the Big Ten Network covering Wisconsin, Michigan State, Indiana and Minnesota. That’s right- the first chance to see Stephen Curry swish another off-balance three, or Jeremy Pargo shattering the rim with a monster dunk, or a chance to get an early glimpse at prized froshies like Greg Monroe, Delvon Roe, Ralph Sampson and Tyshawn Taylor. Devin Ebanks didn’t look so shabby for the Mountaineers last Friday, either.

The optimism is abound. Teams like Indiana can have a night of joyous celebration for the program they root so valiantly and diligently for before….well, they know what could be coming this year. There will be heartbreak, there will be dramatics, there will be celebration. The start of practice can represent plainly the start of practice to some, but for me it’s a new beginning and a fresh season where nobody knows what will happen next. Take it from a Red Sox fan that sometimes sports will give you the most exruciating punch to the gut ever imaginable, but there are those unexplainable moments like last night where the tough times seem like absolute bargains.

The emotions run high in college basketball more than any other sport. Allow me to join these schools in an optimistic mood and say that I have a feeling this season will be one of the greatest ever. The story lines are numerous: Can UNC go undefeated? Can Davidson make it back? Who will win the loaded Big East and Big East tournament? Who is this years Cinderella- San Diego, Siena, American? Which senior will lead their team to the promised land? What unforgettable moments will take place this March?

Yes, college basketball season is officially here. Lace up the Adidas and get in those layup lines, boys.

Some Midnight Madness links for everyone:

Andy Katz goes through the injuries that may impact big-name teams at the start of the season. Lorrenzo Wade and the Aztecs could have plenty of trouble on their hands.

Seth Davis asks 20 lingering questions for this season, including the prospect of senior Greg Paulus coming off the bench and sophomore Nolan Smith getting the starting nod.

Gary Parrish sums up some possibilities we could see this year, including a 50-point performance from Stephen Curry. That’s not too far-fetched of a notion.

Dana O’Neil runs down the history of the Midnight Madness tradition. Yet another highlight on the resume of one Lefty Driesell.

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One Response to “Let The Madness Begin”

  1. Sportsattitude said

    I am mentally preparing myself for the tsunami wave of college basketball on television. If I did get ESPNU, my head would explode. Between the major networks, ESPN and ESPN2 and ESPN Classic, Fox College Sports Atlantic, Central and Pacific, CBS College Sports (CSTV), Versus, Big Ten Network…dear God, how DO I work full-time??? I kinda wish Maui was the “kickoff” for the season as I do think Thanksgiving was a more appropriate time to start up (I’m old school, I know…) but when it begins I’ll be there no matter when!

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