Cage of Madness

Let the practice begin. The Massachusetts men’s and women’s basketball teams officially began their 2007-08 seasons at Midnight Madness Friday night. The event, held at the Curry Hicks Cage, featured entertainment for the 3,174 fans in attendance, as well as a chance to catch their first glimpse of each squad.

The women’s team competed in a three-point contest, while the men participated in a slam-dunk contest and a scrimmage.

“There were a lot of things our fans could have been doing tonight,” UMass coach Travis Ford said. “I think overall it was a successful night. We were obviously very sloppy [during the scrimmage], but I like some things I saw.”

Ford described the Minutemen as, “A different basketball team than previous years,” and also promised that his squad will attempt a significant number of three point baskets this season.

The Minutemen rotated players into a 20 minute scrimmage that featuted a fast pace and a lot of shooting.

With seven freshman and four new players sitting out this season, there are a lot of new faces on the roster. The event allowed all 15 eligible players (and transfer Anthony Gurley) to get exposure on the court.

“I think it was important for us to get our young kids out in front of everybody so they can get to know the fans and that the fans can get to know them,” Ford said.

Similar events are held around the country, serving as a symbolic beginning to the basketball season and also as a representation of when teams can officially begin practice.