'BAMA SLAMMA: Shedding Light On Midnight Madness


Have you felt the Madness?

I did—last Friday, Oct. 15 at 12:01 a.m. Calendars changed nationwide. So did lives.

Harvard’s home of basketball, Lavietes Pavilion, was part of the act. Colleges across the country celebrated the beginning of a new day—the NCAA-mandated start date for the 2004-05 basketball season—by packing arenas full of fans in the wee hours.

Doesn’t sound familiar?


Acquaint yourself with Midnight Madness.

The Pavilion, just like its counterparts at Duke, UConn and Stanford, became more than a court on Friday—it transformed into a roiling cauldron of smoke and fire.

It was the biggest pep rally for Crimson basketball, ever. Heavy on pyrotechnics and light on lethargy, it turned into quite a spectacle.

With sparks and screams showering down, I watched Jason Norman, the Crimson captain, emerge from the shadow-spackled periphery of the gym to a thundering ovation.

And then I woke up. It was only a dream.

Midnight Madness exists. The only problem is, it ain’t here.

“At 12:01 a.m. on Oct. 15,” sophomore guard Ko Yada told me, “I was sleeping.”

“I was cleaning my room and doing a pset” junior guard Michael Beal said.

“I was in bed at 10,” senior guard Kevin Rogus remembered, “cause we had practice at 8:30 in the morning.”

In all, it was a fairly tame night. Surprisingly tame.