Midnight Madness

Milwaukee is often referred to as the city of festivals, and now Marquette basketball is joining in on the fun by expanding the excitement of Midnight Madness into a two-day affair.

Hoopfest, the two-day event, will tip off the men's and women's basketball 2004-'05 season with a block party on 12th Street, between Wisconsin and Wells Avenues, on Friday at 7 p.m.

The festival, centered around the Golden Eagles' form of Midnight Madness, Marquette Madness, will be held on campus at the Al McGuire Center for the first time. In previous years the event had been held at U.S. Cellular Arena.

Bringing Marquette Madness to a campus location was something important in the planning of the event. "Having it on campus is unbelievable and something we're committed to," said Mike Broeker, assistant athletic director of media relations.

Senior associate athletic director Kyle Moats echoed Broeker's enthusiasm about hosting the event on campus.

"We have this wonderful facility (the McGuire Center) on campus," he said. "It doesn't make sense to go downtown (to U.S. Cellular) when we have this beautiful facility on campus."

Because the the McGuire Center is smaller than U.S. Cellular, Fanatics will have priority in seating, Moats said. Fanatics can pick up a wristband from the ticket office in the McGuire Center on Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Broeker said that it was important for them to bring the celebration to the students.

Moats also stressed the importance of involving the students in the celebration. Students will be more involved this year than they have been in previous years, he said. "Hoopfest came about because we wanted more interaction with the students."

The party will move inside at 10:30 p.m. for the "movie premier night"-themed Marquette Madness, featuring special guest John Mason, the public announcer for the Detroit Pistons. Mason's introduction of the teams will tie into the movie premier theme, Moats said. However, he said students have to use their imaginations on what it will be like until that night.

The night will also feature a variety of contests and games, like in previous years, Moats said. The top teams in the 3-on-3 tournament from earlier in the day will also have a chance to showcase their skills.

Saturday's festivities will be geared more towards families, however, students are welcome, Moats said. The McGuire Center will have an Open House, featuring tours of the facility and an autograph session with former Marquette players, such as Bo Ellis, Brian Wardle, Earl Tatum and Jim McIlvaine.