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ESPN U’s Midnight Madness broadcast announced

Michigan St Midnight Madness Basketball

Pyrotechnics illuminate the Breslin Center as Michigan State players are introduced before an NCAA college basketball Midnight Madness scrimmage, Friday, Oct. 14, 2011, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)


ESPN sent out a press release on Monday afternoon announcing their four hour, Midnight Madness broadcast on Friday, October 12th, which begins at 5 p.m. EST.

There will be 13 teams involved in the broadcast. Indiana, Kentucky, NC State, Syracuse, North Carolina, Missouri, Pitt and Florida State will all have their full practices broadcast live with commentary. Indiana’s will be shown on ESPN U, with Jay Williams and Dan Dakich, who knows the Hoosier program as well as anyone in the business, providing analysis. The other seven teams will have their practices shown on ESPN3 with live look-ins on the ESPN U show.

Georgetown, Maryland, Baylor, Kansas and Murray State will also be involved, although they won’t have their full practices shown live.

Calling these practices “Midnight Madness” is, frankly, incorrect. Obviously, they aren’t starting at midnight, and that does take away some of the charm for the event. There was -- and still is -- something special about having practices at midnight on the first day that it is allowed while opening the doors to all of the fans and the students. There’s a bond built. It’s a special experience for many of the students and the athletes. It’s the first time many of the freshmen get introduced to the people that will be supporting them for the next four years.

But the most important part of Midnight Madness is that it is a tool that is used to built hype and excitement and notoriety for the program. Coaches want the fans excited about the team and the players excited about the season. They also want their recruits to be impressed by the outpouring of support and the attention that the event receives. And is there a better way to do that than getting a practice on ESPN?

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.