“Midnight Madness” events aren’t exactly the same as they used to be since the NCAA loosened up and allowed basketball programs to stagger their annual welcome event. But there are still plenty of schools who have some sort of big event to kick off the start of college basketball season.
While Kansas had their Late Night in the Phog event a few weekends back and others had events last weekend, it seems as though most college basketball programs are hosting events this weekend.
Here’s a look at some of the highlights from the Madness events around college hoops on Friday night.
The theme of Kentucky’s annual Big Blue Madness this year was family as head coach John Calipari tried to showcase the program’s ability to produce tons of quality basketball players who still come back to Lexington.
Calipari invited all former Kentucky players to show up and over 70 of them did, walking a blue carpet (instead of a red carpet) as they were headlined by Demarcus Cousins, John Wall and Willie Cauley-Stein. Michael Buffer gave his famous introduction with a Kentucky twist.
As for the current team, they scrimmaged and Rupp Arena has a new scoreboard that showed off the team’s new intro video.
It was a bit of a subdued year for head coach Tom Izzo, as he usually comes out in an elaborate entrance at the Breslin Center. This year, Izzo came out rocking his recent Hall of Fame jacket while preaching about the future of Michigan State basketball.
According to MLive’s Kyle Austin, Izzo spoke of coaching another eight to ten years while wanting to put another Final Four banner in the rafters.
The Tar Heels are fresh off an NCAA title game appearance as a solid sore group of juniors and seniors will try to move on without Marcus Paige and Brice Johnson.
And move on they did at Friday night’s Late Night with Roy Williams as juniors Theo Pinson and Joel Berry II had a dance-off, while senior big man Kennedy Meeks did The Carlton.
The annual Red-Blue Game at Arizona drew a packed house to see the Wildcats’ new group of contributors and freshman guard Rawle Alkins made a strong impression by throwing down a dunk over head coach Sean Miller.
In the game itself, sophomore Allonzo Trier had some solid above-the-rim plays while freshman big man Lauri Markkanen showed the impressive range that helped make him a five-star prospect.
Sophomore big man Steve Enoch was a surprise winner in the dunk contest.
Graduate transfer L.G. Gill made his presence felt by winning the dunk contest in his one and only try.
Watching senior wing Deonte Burton dunk will never get old. This one won’t get Burton a lot of style points but you have to appreciate the raw power the Milwaukee native puts behind this one.
Head coach Chris Mullin is trying to turn things around at St. John’s as he is trying to give the Red Storm more talented players. Playing into recruiting and making the student population happy, St. John’s had Desiigner perform during their festivities while fellow rapper J. Cole — a St. John’s alum — also was in the building.
Meanwhile in the Ivy League, senior Zena Edosomwan donned a Fresh Prince of Bel Air basketball jersey and dunked over three teammates.