The calendar reads mid-October, but tonight will have a decidedly March feel as college basketball get its unofficial kickoff with a bevy of Midnight Madnesses from coast to coast.
Beginning at 9 p.m. ET, the four-hour ESPNU Midnight Madness special (see schedule below) will preview top college programs in whip-around coverage of 11 basketball events across the nation.
On-site commentators will provide coverage of various elements including scrimmages, player introductions, skill and dunk contests, team skits, head coach and player interviews, along with season previews.
Programs included in the madness will be ESPN’s Andy Katz’s preseason No. 1 North Carolina, No. 2 Kentucky, No. 4 Syracuse, No. 5 Duke, No. 6 Connecticut, No. 9 Louisville and No. 20 Texas A&M — all live on ESPN3. Additional team spotlights with coach interviews will emanate from No.3 Ohio State, No. 7 Vanderbilt, No. 8 Memphis, No. 10 Arizona, No. 11 Wisconsin and No. 12 Florida as well as New Mexico and UCLA.
The Front Row Podcast caught up with Kentucky coach John Calipari on Thursday as he put the final touches on his “State of the Cats” address which will be delivered to a sold out crowd at UK’s “Big Blue Madness” held in Lexington, Ky.’s Rupp Arena.
Coach Cal was an early adopter of Midnight Madness during his days at UMass and offers some perspective on what the night means to his program, Wildcat fans and recruiting.
Editor’s note: Front Row’s David Scott spent the past two years serving as John Calipari’s social media and business manager at UK and has a relationship with Coach Calipari dating back to their days at UMass in the 1990s. David co-authored Calipari’s book, Bounce Back, released in 2009.
|Basketball Programs and Commentators||Site||Networks (Times ET)*|
|Dean Smith Center||ESPNU and ESPN3 (7:30 p.m.)|
|Rupp Arena||ESPNU and ESPN3 (7:30 p.m.)|
Rich Hollenberg and Tim Welsh
|Carrier Dome||ESPNU and ESPN3 (8 p.m.)|
Lou Canellis and Bill Raftery
|Cameron Indoor Stadium||ESPNU and ESPN3 (8 p.m.)|
Mark Brown and Doris Burke
|Gampel Pavilion||ESPNU and ESPN3 (7 p.m.)|
|The Yum! Center||ESPNU and ESPN3 (7 p.m.)|
|Allen Field House||ESPNU|
Dave Armstrong and Carolyn Peck
|Kyle Field (football stadium)||ESPNU and ESPN3 (12:45 a.m.)|
|D.J. Sokol Arena||ESPNU|