Tag Archives: Midnight Madness

Trouble with the Calendar: Basketball Practice!

If you follow me in the social Twitter, you’d know that last week I was very curious of the date. I mean I knew it was September but on that day I received an Outlook meeting request. This gathering of the minds was to be held on October 1 and I began to think, “What an oddly advanced meeting request. October is forever away but it is my birthday month and that’s pretty great. I wonder what I should do to celebrate that? What could this meeting be? Isn’t it Brad’s birthday soon, too? Probably should do something for that cat. Is October that far away? Do the Cats have a bye week? Is Saturday’s football schedule really that bad? I think I’ll have Pho for lunch. But sando sounds nice..” Yeah, I got distracted. Yet when I came to realize that October was tangibly close, this:

Of course begging said question is less a matter of calendar as it is a matter of competition. You, being the bright fan you are, recognize that November marks the first of 20ft-9inches for three, 35-seconds to shoot, questionable court rushes, scrubs waving towels, ubiquitous charges, and shining moments. COLLEGE BASKETBALL.

You need it and you want it and this week, because it is indeed not November yet, I present: THE WEEK THAT PRACTICE STARTS! Earlier this summer, the NCAA announced that practices could begin six weeks (42 days) prior to a team’s first game. They’re allowed to squeeze 30 practices into that window and now let’s pour one out for Midnight Madness.

[is this where I link or reference to Allen Iverson’s practice presser?]

Your team, their practice:

  First Practice First Game
Arizona 9/27/2013 11/8/2013
ASU 9/27/2013 11/8/2013
USC 9/27/2013 11/8/2013
UCLA 9/27/2013 11/8/2013
Colorado 9/27/2013 11/8/2013
Utah 9/27/2013 11/8/2013
Cal 9/27/2013 11/8/2013
Stanford 9/27/2013 11/8/2013
Oregon 9/27/2013 11/8/2013
Oregon State 9/29/2013 11/10/2012
Washington 9/29/2013 11/10/2012
WSU 9/29/2013 11/10/2012

And while there may not be a Midnight Madness (was anyone really running one of those anyway?) you might notice that nine Pac teams are in action on 11/8. Opening day? Kinda feels like it.

But this is a post about practice, the three man weave and running suicides where they don’t count unless everyone touches the line. Practice where every jumper is counted and gold jerseys are handed out. Practice where minutes are earned and lost. Blood, sweat, and tears. Hell maybe a fight?

It may only be practice. And it may not be Novermber yet. But it’s a start.

The start.

College Basketball is Here. Right?

If we were to have a preseason montage in the mold of One Shining Moment it’d be full of dudes lifting weights and sprinting and sweating and academically qualifying and shooting mundane jumpers against brooms.

And I’d watch the hell out of it.

Ok so that’s not going to get produced unless Kickstarter makes an accounting error and my grandma’s $25 dollar check gets deposited as $25k. If that does happen, can someone please drop me Vandross’ digits? I got a montage to make.

It’s here. Your team will soon be practicing like a Rich Rodriguez off-season workout and you couldn’t be more upset with the pundits’ preseason evaluations; you’re higher on your freshman class’s upside than Vitale on Duke (unless you’re Washington who’s devoid any pups); you’re scrounging the interwebs for sources on team chemistry and you’ve evaluated the best road games to attend and booked a hotel block in Vegas for early March.

But I struggle with this Friday.

It’s practice. Bounce passes and defensive drills and whistles and laps. There isn’t a scoreboard telling me my team is better than yours; the ultimate reason I’m a fan. Sure, I could attend a practice and tell you that guard X looks tough on defense and forward Y appears really bulked up. But until whatever happened since the last buzzer sounded in March manifests itself in Novermber, it’s all speculation. Because even Yi Jianlian’s chair looked filthy in practice.

And I’ve thought a lot about what this Friday means. Is it the beginning of the season? Sorta. I’m still going to be watching football all day Saturday. In moments of off-season jubilation I’d hashtag question #IsItNovemberYet – a meme I didn’t realize had political connotations. So there has got to be a reason I wasn’t curious whether or not it was October.

Well my curiosity rests around November because I want ball games and competition and all of the storylines to unfold. I want to see Sean Miller and Ken Bone in suits, not sweats. I want to see Ben Howland call a timeout. I want to see Tad Boyle killing large game animals. God dammit, I want to see Johnny Dawkins smile.

I get none of that on October 12 (but my birthday is the 14th so I’m definitely getting new clothes – thanks, Mom – and the sappiest damn card – love you too, Pops).

But you know what we do get on 10/12? We get a taste. Just the slightest morsel to chew on for one more month but it’s finally something tangible. It’s like shaking your gifts the night before Christmas to see what’s inside (someone confirm this for me? I’m Jewish). That first official practice is our first opportunity to stop reading about 2016 recruits and start fathoming real things like tempo-full and tempo-free stats. Oh, and wins. Because that’s all that really matters, right?

We’re not there yet. We’ve just arrived at Oz’s emerald gate and now the little guy’s just got to let us in. But that’s pretty damn close.

And I’ll be sure to let y’all know if my Kickstarter funding comes through.