Saturday , Oct , 16 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Midnight Madness kicks off college hoops season

Storrs, CT (Sports Network) – The University of Connecticut’s
defending men’s and women’s national champion teams kicked off their
seasons as the annual tradition of Midnight Madness began the college
basketball year.

Jim Calhoun’s Huskies began practice for the defense of the title they won
with an 82-73 victory over Georgia Tech on April 5 at the Alamodome. Also,
Geno Auriemma led his Lady Huskies back on the court for the first time since
besting Tennessee in the title game of the women’s tournament last year.

Under NCAA guidelines, teams are not allowed to begin practice for the season
until 12:01 a.m. local time on Saturday.

The idea of practicing at the first possible minute was started by Lefty
Driesell, who retired as coach at Georgia State in the middle of last season.
Driesell began Midnight Madness while the head coach at Maryland in 1970.

Other college basketball perennial powerhouses, including North Carolina,
Duke, Maryland and Kentucky, featured entertaining festivities that led up
to their 12:01 practices.

Some schools elect to take a more subtle approach as Alabama will begin
practice Sunday morning at 6 a.m. (et).