We are 16 days from the public’s first look at the first Archie Miller coached Indiana Basketball team, and the excitement is building daily.
The first official practice used to begin at 12:01am on October 15th every year, but it has since transformed from a practice into a show to help build the excitement for upcoming season.
I started attending those 12:01am practices as soon as Coach Knight allowed the public to be present, and I’ve never quit attending them. As other programs around the country were already billing it as “Midnight Madness” and had already made it more of a show for the fans and fun for the players, Coach Knight was still very much conducting a practice.
Back then it was basically quiet except for the squeaking of shoes on the floor, the dribbling of basketballs, the screech of the whistles, the encouragement from the players and the assistant coaches, and of course the ever present order or instruction from Coach Knight.
By the time Indiana caught up to the times other schools had added catchy names to their Midnight Madness events. So Indiana followed suit, and Hoosier Hysteria was born.
Although, Hoosier Hysteria is a term that has long been associated with the great state of Indiana and it’s passion for basketball. Whether it is being played in driveways, High School gyms, Assembly Hall, or Bankers Life Fieldhouse, most Hoosiers love themselves some hoops.
The state of Indiana is not only Home to the six largest high school gyms in the country, but also to 13 of the 15 largest. And that’s with Anderson High School’s Wigwam being removed from #2 on the list when it officially closed in 2011. Although after some renovations, the school district will be allowed 12 event days per year, so it’s possible the Wigwam hasn’t seen its last basketball game.
The two largest crowds I’ve witnessed for Indiana University’s opening “practice” were for Cody Zeller’s two years in Bloomington. The excitement surrounding his arrival his Freshman year, and the teams #1 ranking his Sophomore year, was off the charts. And having attended every opening practice since it was allowed, I’d say that’s when the fans officially put the Hysteria in IU’s Midnight Madness event known as Hoosier Hysteria.
On October 21st I expect something similar. With a very solid core of returning players, some very intriguing new comers, plenty of recruits on hand, including probable Mr. Basketball Romeo Langford, and maybe most importantly, a new coach, it could possibly reach that level of excitement.
Coach Miller doesn’t seem at all in awe about the position he’s in at such a young age. He didn’t when I attended his introductory press conference, and he hasn’t during any speaking engagement, or during any interview. And more than likely he won’t be in awe when he walks out in front of thousands of Hysterical Hoosiers in two weeks.
When he makes his first appearance of the night it will most likely be louder than any Dayton game he ever coached. He’ll probably get chills, and maybe fight back a smile. But considering his love, and his passion for the game of basketball, I think Archie Miller will feel right at home.
There are things that I miss about those practices at Midnight back in the day, but I also enjoy being in Assembly Hall with thousands of my “friends” who are as crazy about their Hoosiers as I am.
If you’ve never been, come join us. If you’ve been before, well come on back. Let’s all get together and enjoy something that complete strangers have in common. I mean after all, there isn’t a better place than Assembly Hall for a bunch of Hysterical Hoosiers to welcome in a new season, new players, a new coach, and a new era!