Midnight madness’ kicks off A&T basketball season

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The North Carolina A&T men and women basketball team will be hosting their midnight madness celebration at midnight this Thursday in the Corbett Sports Arena.

October 15 will mark the first day of basketball practice for the Aggies and all of the NCAA schools for the 2009-10 season.

The event will include a 3-point shooting contest, slam-dunk contest, 20-minute scrimmage between the lady Aggies, and live performances from the blue-and-gold cheerleaders, marching band and blue reign.

There will also be a dance competition and “best dressed” contest.

The admission is free and the doors will open at 8 p.m.

The event serves as an energy booster that athletic departments across the country use to pump up the season for their school fans.

“The students at North Carolina A&T make the atmosphere at Corbett one of the most intimidating places to play in the country,” said athletic director Wheeler Brown. “We are adamant about furthering that tradition while at the same time strengthening the bond between our students and athletics department. Midnight Madness will serve as an opportunity to get our student-athletes and student body excited about the upcoming season.”

Both teams are coming off improved seasons in 2008-09.

The Lady Aggies won their second consecutive MEAC regular season title under reigning conference coach of the year Patricia Cage-Bibbs and advanced to the WNCAA tournament for the first time in over a decade.

They fell short to ACC’s Florida State University 83-71 in Duluth Ga. After posting a 26-6 record which marked the greatest season in the team’s history.

They’ll kick of the season with a demanding schedule that includes 2007 women’s national champion runner-up LSU, New Mexico State’s tournament, and Iowa State’s tournament.

“Our fans are the best fans in the country,” said women’s basketball coach Patricia Cage-Bibbs.

“Their support has been a big part of our success. I’m sure they will be excited about getting the season started this way.”

“We’re not just happy with making the (WNCAA) tournament,” said Bibbs.

“We want to go there and win. Playing a schedule like this will get us prepared to achieve that goal because we’ll get a chance to play against different styles of play.”

The Aggie Men’s basketball squad didn’t advance as far as the ladies when they lost in the MEAC Quarterfinals this past March but did achieve their first .500 record  after finishing 16-16 season since 1994-95.

It was the first time they posted at least this many wins since the 1993-94 season when they finished 16-14.

They open the season at home against Division II. Brevard College before they hit the road to take on major conference schools that include: Texas El Paso, Northwestern, Miami, and Tennessee.

“Our ultimate goal is to reach the NCAA Tournament,” said N.C. A&T head coach Jerry Eaves.

“We need to see different styles of play, we need to play in certain type of venues and we need to build confidence going forward.

“Midnight Madness gives our players a chance to have a little fun before the business of going after a championship begins.” 

  • Daniel Henderson