- Dick Vitale, College Basketball analyst
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I am so excited as college basketball will officially tip off the season on Friday night.
I know that the baseball playoffs are going on, and it looks like the Yankees and Phillies are on a collision course. College football is going strong and there are great debates about who is number one. My friends, there is nothing like college hoops and Midnight Madness is special. There is so much enthusiasm across the nation as places like Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina and many others will hold an open practice and fans will respond to the start of the campaign.
Fans have been waiting for the magic to begin. They create an unbelievable atmosphere to start the season, one big party where the players have so much fun. They have dunk contests, show off some of their skills and interract with the supporters.
My juices are flowing just thinking about the season. It is going to be awesome, baby with a capital A!
Midnight Madness was started years ago by Charles "Lefty" Driesell of Maryland. He said that he wanted to make his school the UCLA of the East. Driesell, who by the way belongs in the Hall of Fame, wanted to get a jump on the rules and have an early practice, getting the fans involved.
Driesell created basketball excitement with the Terps. They didn't always get into the NCAA tournament because only one team per conference made it; I remember when NC State won it all and Maryland didn't have a chance at the big dance.
I remember when I was coaching, I tried to steal the idea and have my own Midnight Madness. I know the players love being involved in it. Driesell created a trend and it has become popular across America. It definitely creates excitement.
I am so excited about the diaper dandies coming in. They get their first crack on the collegiate hardwood on Friday night. Will Harrison Barnes live up to the hype down in Chapel Hill? How will Brandon Knight fare as the next great guard under John Calipari?
The opening of college hoops gives every team a chance to enjoy special moments. Each squad is unbeaten and has hope for great things during the 2010-11 season. For one evening, the players and coaches have little pressure as they celebrate the season ahead. I just love the enthusiasm of Midnight Madness.
Before you know it, the games will count for real and we will start the march as teams try to make the expanded field of 68.
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