ESPN sent out a press release on Monday afternoon announcing their four hour, Midnight Madness broadcast on Friday, October 12th, which begins at 5 p.m. EST.
There will be 13 teams involved in the broadcast. Indiana, Kentucky, NC State, Syracuse, North Carolina, Missouri, Pitt and Florida State will all have their full practices broadcast live with commentary. Indiana’s will be shown on ESPN U, with Jay Williams and Dan Dakich, who knows the Hoosier program as well as anyone in the business, providing analysis. The other seven teams will have their practices shown on ESPN3 with live look-ins on the ESPN U show.
Georgetown, Maryland, Baylor, Kansas and Murray State will also be involved, although they won’t have their full practices shown live.
Calling these practices “Midnight Madness” is, frankly, incorrect. Obviously, they aren’t starting at midnight, and that does take away some of the charm for the event. There was — and still is — something special about having practices at midnight on the first day that it is allowed while opening the doors to all of the fans and the students. There’s a bond built. It’s a special experience for many of the students and the athletes. It’s the first time many of the freshmen get introduced to the people that will be supporting them for the next four years.
But the most important part of Midnight Madness is that it is a tool that is used to built hype and excitement and notoriety for the program. Coaches want the fans excited about the team and the players excited about the season. They also want their recruits to be impressed by the outpouring of support and the attention that the event receives. And is there a better way to do that than getting a practice on ESPN?
The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.
This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.
The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.
Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.
Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.
The greatest player in Auburn program history will honored with a statue outside of the team’s home arena.
The university announced that Charles Barkley, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, will be the fourth athlete to be given a statue, joining Heisman Trophy winners Bo Jackson, Pat Sullivan and Cam Newton.
“It just means a great deal to me,” Barkley said in a statement. “Being a kid from Alabama, going to Auburn. I think everybody knows what Auburn means to me. It’s going to be pretty cool.”
Barkley, currently working as an analyst for TNT, was the SEC Player of the Year in 1984, as well as a second team All-American. He averaged 14.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game in 84 appearances for the Tigers.