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Midnight Madness sets tone for basketball season

By SYDNEY RHODES

As Sunday Oct. 15 approached us, students at UT prepared for an evening of festivities. The doors of Martinez Athletic Center boomed with music beginning at 9 p.m. The music lured in students, as the question arose “What is going on at this time of night?” and the answer to that was a whole bunch of Midnight Madness.

The annual event marked the beginning of season for the men’s and women’s basketball team.Spartan fans were expecting an exciting Sunday night, and it proved to be a night full of thrill and anticipation of the looming midnight fun that began the season.

To kick the night off, a live band, The Infinite 8’s performed just outside of the Athletic center’s doors. The band pathed the way for the excitement that was yet to come. Spartans gathered in front of the doors as they held everyone outside in the courtyard.

The sports marketing students, teams and cheerleading and dance squads  awaited the eager spartans with cameras and cheers. As soon as the clock hit 10:30 p.m. the doors of Martinez opened and the students flooded the hall. The large group was welcomed with music, cheers, Spartacus the school’s mascot and of flashes of cameras. In the hall students could learn more about clubs, teams and organizations as well as receive free food, donuts and candy, along with a photobooth set to capture memories with friends.

As the gym began to fill within the hour, the fans covered the bleachers and the events began. The first to perform was the Unified Dance group who immediately hyped the crowd up. Following the performance was UT’s cheer team, cheering toward the students and launching into the air as they flipped and shouted.

Afterward, the crowd was finally introduced to the Women’s Basketball team roster.  Each player was welcomed by a tunnel of cheerleaders, emerging from a cloud of fog. The men’s basketball lineup followed as the room cheered with enthusiasm.

The team began to warm up and play as loud music filled the enormous gym. “We had an awesome Midnight Madness this year. I hope to see the students at the games because their energy transfers to us and hypes us up more than anything. Last night was a great kick starter to the season.” says forward-center Molly Franson. Throughout this event there were also games involving the crowd, a group of 5 girls attempted to take on seven foot tall Nikola Marijan, a Junior on the Men’s team. A dance off against Spartacus was also attempted and well I think we all know who won that contest.

Throughout the rest of the assembly, we saw other great performances from the Caribbean Dance Troupe, The Spanish Dance team, and the Ut Spartan Scarlets. Once the rally had ended the room filled with cheers, yelling, and excitement from the Spartans. Confetti flew in the air as colorful lights flashed in the dark and music blasted throughout the gym.

“The purpose of Midnight Madness is to bring awareness to the start of our basketball team’s season by way of a gathering like this to honor their long hard commitment to representing the University.” said Coach Jessee of Women’s Basketball, “The event is meant to spark the school spirit toward basketball and get the student body to come out on game nights.”

On top of Midnight Madness, the Teams are both preparing well for this upcoming season. There season opener will be home on the court, November 10th against Spring Hill College. “This year our team’s chemistry has improved a lot from last year and it translates when we play. Everyday we’re going to practice and we work hard so we can see the success translate in the upcoming games,” said Franson.

The Women’s team also set high hopes for the season, “The team goals include winning a conference and national championship”, says Senior Morgan Lumb, Allied Health major. After the outcome of Midnight Madness, the team should have plenty of support on the court from our student body, best of luck to the Men’s and Women’s Basketball Team’s as they kickoff their season.

Sydney Rhodes can be reached at sydney.rhodes@spartans.ut.edu

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