Midnight Madness is just two days away (but by the time you are reading this it will be just one day away), and rumors are flying around about where players are going to attend. What we do know is for certain according to Mark Tupper's column today is that Eric Gordon, Bill Cole, Michael Tisdale, and Eric Shang Ping will be in Assembly Hall taking in the festivities and seeing the Illini raise their Final Four banner.
Further in Tupper's article he seems to portray that Illinois is finally starting to get it when it comes to Midnight Madness, and what a benefit it has for recruiting. In the past, Illinois has had Huff Hall full of people to cheer on the opening of practice for the Illini. This year the Illini are having the festivities in Assembly Hall, and with a good fan turnout this could become an every year experience in Assembly Hall, right where it should be. In years past, including last year, Illinois made the decision (and the wrong one) to have the opening of the basketball practice coincide with a Saturday afternoon football game. Hopefully, last season was the last time we see an "Illini Madness" tied to a football game, in an effort to build the attendance in Memorial Stadium.
In college basketball circles, Midnight Madness has become a tradition for the die-hard fans, one that is as important to witness as Selection Sunday. During his time at the University of Kansas, Roy Williams turned Midnight Madness into Late Night with Roy, and he had students lining up outside of Allen Field House for days just to get good seats. Now, I better than anyone else know there is not much to do in Kansas, but even Kansas is not boring enough to sit outside of a basketball stadium waiting for the first practice to start. Other schools have started traditions for Midnight Madness as well, and ESPN has helped to popularize the festivities even more by televising them to the nation. While I do not know the exact year, I remember one time when ESPN was televising Midnight Madness in the mid-1990s where a student hit a half court shot for free tuition and room & board for his college career at Cincinnati. Unfortunately for ESPN the fan was not a player on Bob Huggins' team so he stayed in school for four years and actually had schoolbooks that were hard bound, and not filled with pictures to color.
ESPN is back at it this year televising the Midnight Madness festivities at Memphis, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan State, and Oregon on ESPNU starting at 7:00 PM central.
In some other news from Midnight Madness festivities across the country, the Richmond Times Dispatch is reporting that Derrick Rose is going to be at Virginia this weekend for an unofficial visit, but IlliniBoard.com has learned that claim is not true and Derrick Rose is expected to be in Champaign despite the media reports to the contrary.
Now, back to the Illini football team. It appears that Brit Miller and Eric Block were in an altercation Saturday night at a party. Now, when the first sign of trouble happened, both Miller and Block left the party, but they were attacked on their way home. Now, there are a few easy jokes that are left open here. You know the one about an Illini player getting caught from behind because they are too slow. Or how about asking if the assailant was Matt Sinclair. Now a lesser man than me would have definitely gone for those jokes, thankfully I have too much class to make comments like that.
Here is a note to the Daily Illini editorial staff, when you are going to make a pop culture reference with the headline of a story in the sports section, please make sure it is not a reference to a show that was still on the air at a time the majority of your audience would remember it, or it is a memorable show. Hangin' with Mr. Cooper is neither. Heck, making a mention of Hang Time would have been a better choice, though not as easy for the witty college students creating the Daily Illini headlines.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Tim Brasic only needs 56 yards rushing in the Illini's last five games to break the single-season rushing record for quarterbacks at Illinois set by Rich Weiss in 1978. I guess the only way Brasic does not break the single season record this year is if Mike Locksley mistakes the quarterback for Pierre Thomas and quits calling rushing plays for him.
Now, on to some pre-season NBA basketball.
Luther Head had another good game for the Houston Rockets today in their 84-80 win over the Orlando Magic. He scored 12 points on 4-of-9 shooting and had 3 assists. [Box Score]
Deron Williams played 16 minutes in the Jazz 102 - 101 victory over the Toronto Raptors and scored 8 points with 4 assists, but also committed 5 turnovers. The hero for the Jazz was their second round draft pick CJ Miles who tied the game with a three-pointer with 2.4 seconds left to tie the game and send it to overtime. [Box Score | Recap]
Note to the Chicago Bulls, hitting a jump shot every now and then will improve your offensive performance. Thank you for your time and consideration.
In some other news around basketball, it is being reported that Coach K is going to be the Head Coach of the next US Olympic team. It is not like I am shocked by this revelation considering I knew USA Basketball was going to overreact to what happened in Athens this past summer and go with a college guy to coach the team, and the world knew it would be Coach K that would be offered the job. Now, if USA Basketball wants to really do this right, they need to have a team ready and playing together for a year with their coach. Of course, unless Duke starts to lose, and he needs an assistant to take the losses, Coach K has a day job that would get in the way of really preparing the team the way it needs to be done.
Arizona's Jawann McClellan has been ruled ineligible for the first semester by the NCAA. McClellan was forced to drop out of summer school this past summer when his father suffered a fatal heart attack, and his appeal for re-instatement was denied by the NCAA. McClellan only needed one hour to become eligible, and while I could use this as a way to hammer the NCAA for being an institution that just doesn't get it, I won't because in this case I just wonder why Arizona and their academic advisors did not have McClellan eligible when he is just missing one hour.
In Mike DeCourcy's efforts to get ahead of the fellating of the Big Ten this season and act like he was ahead of the curve, he writes this column on Yahoo! Sports.
From the holy shit this is cool file, an EA Sports March Madness ad that entirely features the University of Illinois Fighting Illini and promotes Illinois Madness.
Brumby's Daily Column: October 13, 2005
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