A tradition was born in the world of college basketball when Maryland coach Charles "Lefty" Driesell sent his team out for a one-mile run just after the clock struck midnight on the unofficial start of the college hoops season in 1971. Over the last 47 years, Maryland's midnight run evolved into an annual event across the country, with each university finding its own ways to celebrate the new season. In Lexington, it’s “Big Blue Madness”; in Lawrence, it’s “Late Night in the Phog.” Indiana is home to "Hoosier Hysteria," while other schools opt for celebratory scrimmages or slam dunk contests to introduce their players to their fans and create hype for the upcoming season. Many schools even make the event a part of Homecoming weekend, with entertainment and extravagence at the center of the chaos.
The event has turned into a major recruiting tool as well, with programs competing to secure the attendance of top recruits and pulling out all the stops to impress them. B.o.B will perform at Marquette Madness this year, while rapper 2 Chainz is rumored to be making an appearance at Allen Fieldhouse. Schools like Villanova have opted to turn the focus from entertainment to true fandom by eliminating outside performances—they're counting on their newest national title to woo fans and recruits all on its own.
With the NCAA practice window officially open as of Tuesday, Sept. 25, teams and fans alike are now getting ready for the 2018–19 season. Several schools will host Midnight-Madness style events for their men's and women's teams as early as the first Friday night after the NCAA practice window begins, while others will be wait until well into October in the lead up to the first games in November.
Here are the biggest events happening before the season (all times listed are local times):
Midnight Madness 2018 Events
Kansas (Late Night in the Phog)
Date: Friday, Sept. 28 at 6:30 p.m.
Notable Recruits Scheduled to Attend: Cassius Stanley (2019), Christian Braun (2019), Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (2019), Chandler Lawson, James Wiseman (2019), RJ Hampton (2020) and Isaac McBride
Where Can I Watch? Jayhawk TV, ESPN+
Indiana (Hoosier Hysteria)
Date: Saturday, Sept. 29 at 4 p.m.
Notable Recruits Scheduled to Attend: Trayce Jackson-Davis (2019) and Keion Brooks (2019)
Where Can I Watch? Big Ten Plus
Memphis (Memphis Madness)
Date: Thursday, Oct. 4 at 7 p.m.
Notable Recruits Scheduled to Attend: James Wiseman (2019), Trendon Watford (2019), D.J. Jeffries (2019), Boogie Ellis (2019) and Jahmius Ramsey (2019)
Villanova (Hoops Mania, Blue-White Scrimmage)
Date: Hoops Mania will be on Friday, Oct. 5; time TBA. Blue-White Scrimmage will take place Saturday Oct. 13 at 11 a.m.
Marquette (Marquette Madness)
Date: Friday, Oct. 5 at 9 p.m.; open practice/scrimmage will be held Oct. 6 at 9:30 a.m.
Notable Recruits Scheduled to Attend: Nico Mannion (2019) and James Bishop (2019)
Special Notes: B.o.B. will hold a free concert at the event.
Georgetown (Hoya Madness)
Date: Friday, Oct. 5; doors open 9 p.m.
Pittsburgh (Courtside at the Cathedral)
Date: Friday, Oct. 5, 8 p.m.
Michigan State (Michigan State Madness)
Date: Friday, Oct. 5 at 9:30 p.m.
Notable Recruits Scheduled to Attend: Trayce Jackson-Davis (2019)
Gonzaga (Kraziness in the Kennel)
Date: Saturday, Oct. 6; time TBA
Kentucky (Big Blue Madness)
Date: Friday, Oct. 12; 7 p.m.
Notable Recruits Scheduled to Attend: Dontaie Allen (2019), Vernon Carey Jr. (2019), Isaiah Stewart (2019), Tyrese Maxey (2019 commit), RJ Hampton (2020)
Where Can I Watch? SEC Network
North Carolina (Late Night with Roy Williams)
Date: Friday, Oct. 12 at 7:30 p.m.
Notable Recruits Scheduled to Attend: Wendell Moore (2019)
Iowa State (Hilton Madness)
Date: Friday, Oct. 12, 7 p.m.
Virginia (Pepsi Blue-White Scrimmage)
Date: Sunday, Oct. 13; time TBA
Harvard (Crimson Madness)
Date: Saturday, Oct. 13 at 7 p.m.
Where Can I Watch? ESPN+
Florida State (Garnet and Gold Scrimmage)
Date: Sunday, Oct. 14, 4 p.m.
Arizona (McDonald's Red-Blue Game)
Date: Sunday, Oct. 14, 12 p.m.
Notable Recruits Scheduled to Attend: Josh Green (2019), Nico Mannion (2019 commit), Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (2019)
Alabama (Tide Tip Off)
Date: Monday, Oct. 15 at 7 p.m.
Texas (Texas Tip-Off)
Date: Wednesday, Oct. 17 at 8 p.m.
Where Can I Watch? Longhorn Network
Duke (Countdown to Craziness)
Date: Friday, Oct. 19, 7 p.m.
Notable Recruits Scheduled to Attend: Vernon Carey Jr. (2019), Jalen Johnson (2020)
Xavier (Musketeer Madness)
Date: Friday, Oct. 19 at 7 p.m.
Wisconsin (Red/White Scrimmage)
Date: Sunday, Oct. 21; time TBA
Maryland (Maryland Madness)
Date: Friday, Oct. 26, 8 p.m. ET