Those programs included Indiana, Kentucky, Kansas, North Carolina and North Carolina State. But one of the obvious programs missing from that impressive parade of Blue Bloods was Duke.
The Blue Devils over the years have shifted away from the Midnight Madness spectacle and for some that is not a good thing. They look at the hype around NC State, they see Kentucky channeling all the electricity the state can muster to power its light show and pyrotechnics as well as their icon budget and wonder if Duke is missing out.
The easy answer though is no they are not.
Duke doesn’t need to share a night with all those programs, they get their very own night. The program hosts its Countdown to Craziness this coming Friday and that in and of itself is a major attraction for fans and recruits. Nobody has to have a conflict over where to go because Durham is the only show in town that night. There is not competition for attention.
ESPN may not necessarily be there but they don’t spend all their time in one arena on Midnight Madness anyway, so again there is no real loss. Countdown to Craziness has all the pomp and circumstance of all other Midnight Madness events but none of the competition.
And if the ESPN cameras are your draw then the Blue Devils have you covered there too. Duke will have its practice at Fort Bragg broadcast for the whole college basketball world to see. In this case, it is an inside access practice not an excuse to dress up in tutus (if that is your thing) or have Mike Krzyzewski lowered down to the court by his privates just for your viewing pleasure.
Indiana had the closest thing to that with their practice being televised. They were clearly working and it wasn’t about just fun and games. I realize fans love that and if you can get Jay-Z or Lebron James to swing by that is appealing to fans and recruits alike.
But unless recruits or players want to play for the woeful Brooklyn Nets or get a chance to see Lebron James up close only to hear him talk about how great a coach Mike Krzyzewski is, since he is the only college coach he has ever had, then you can just go to any of the Midnight Madness events.
Duke has their own day and their own televised practice. Countdown to Craziness is the fun and games kickoff event for fans and recruits. The do it just like everybody else does it but all that fawning over Kentucky’s light show and guest list is all good and well but they don’t have the wherewithal to schedule there own day.
So, to answer the question is Duke really losing out by not joining in with everybody else and doing the Midnight Madness thing? No they aren’t because they don’t follow everybody else. They march to their own drums in Durham or at Fort Bragg and show that Duke Basketball is still leading the way.
Who needs Madness when you have Craziness?