GROVER: Melodramatic madness

EricGroverOnce upon a time, Madness took place at midnight. The NCAA had strict rules on when the first basketball practices of the season could start, so many teams would practice at exactly midnight on that day so they could literally begin as soon as possible.

Alumni staying up past their bedtime and buzzed underclassmen alike could join in the fun of watching their team run suicides at one in the morning and scrimmage until well past two. There was something magical about it. It was late. It was madness.

Things have changed, and the midnight classic has now given way to Marquette Madness, which started at 7:30 p.m. on Friday night.

“The NCAA changed that rule a couple years ago,” said Associate Athletic Director Scott Kuykendall. “You can start now in the early evening, so that allows people to get an early start and be more of a family event.”

Despite freshman forward Erik Williams’ disappointing performance in the dunk contest, columnist Eric Grover still thought Madness was a success.
Despite freshman forward Erik Williams’ disappointing performance in the dunk contest, columnist Eric Grover still thought Madness was a success.

At least our university had the right mind to change the name. Syracuse still referred to their 8 p.m. event as “Midnight Madness.” I guess none of them could get into Marquette.

OK, to me Marquette Madness is best compared to sitting around the couch with your friends, and all of a sudden one of them goes, “Hey, let’s watch ‘There Will Be Blood!’ or some other movie. And everyone thinks it’s a great idea and gets really excited to watch Daniel Day Lewis act like an oil tycoon gangster and drink people’s milkshakes.

So, you start watching and the movie is great and you’re into it. Then you realize that it’s a two and a half hour movie, and it starts dragging a bit. Then it drags a little more. And it goes on and on. And on. And all of a sudden, you realize this isn’t fun anymore. So you go back to watching reruns of ‘Cops.’ It’s happened to everyone.

That’s basically what happened with Marquette Madness. When it first started, it was a standing room only experience with an electric atmosphere and Thunderstix drowning out the P.A. announcer. Two hours passed, and by the time the men’s scrimmage was nearing halftime all the energy was gone and some people started to slowly file out.

“I didn’t know as many players as last year, so it was good getting to know them,” said Aaron Dierks, a sophomore in the College of Communication. “But 10-minute and 12-minute scrimmages seem kind of long. It kind of dragged on and got a little boring.”

Despite the length, I still think Marquette Madness was a successful night. I kept a running commentary of some of the evening’s highlights:

  • I like the new women’s jerseys, except for the oddly placed Marquette logo below the neckline. It’s like a grad student at junior prom–what is it doing there?
  • Angel Robinson looked energetic and made a couple of nice passes. Her ball distribution is going to be essential to the team’s success this year.
  • Terri Mitchell needs to teach a dance class. Immediately.
  • When will people learn that you can’t write signs in gold lettering? You can’t see it at all.
  • The best part of the night was when Buzz Williams came out in an all-white jumpsuit. He looked like a Britney Spears backup dancer.
  • Jeronne Maymon looked like an absolute beast. He reminded me of a younger Lazar Hayward, but needs to work on his outside jumper.
  • Dwight Buycks has unbelievable athleticism, but needs to settle down and make good decisions with the ball.

So, the madness is officially over. Let the season begin.