Overtime: Midnight Madness not “The Butler Way”


Darkness. A single spotlight floods the court. The latest rap sensation suddenly appears out of the shadows. The crowd roars as the special guest introduces the team. There are some basketballs thrown in here and there. A three point contest and maybe a team scrimmage. 

This is midnight madness.

Originally, events like these were intended to preview the upcoming season and show the rest of the college basketball world the potential of this year’s squad.

Unfortunately, the actual basketball game has become masked by extravagant (and expensive) costumes, skits, dances, and guest stars. It has become filled with over-the-top pageantry.

This is not the “Butler Way.”

Members of the Dawg Pound watching a game last season.

Members of the Dawg Pound watching a game last season. Collegian File Photo

Sure, it would be nice to see our players and coaches goof around for a few hours, but what’s the point?

Butler men’s basketball senior guard Alex Barlow said the event becomes less about basketball and more about fanfare.

“It could be something that would be a lot of fun, but at the same time, it sometimes does get overblown and overhyped,” Barlow said. “It’s almost like a rock concert. It’s not even so much basketball. I would want it to be more focused on basketball.”

Brandon Crone is Butler’s Coordinator of Mens Basketball Operations. As a player, he was a member of the Bulldogs team that earned a Sweet 16 berth in 2007. He said when he was a player, he felt excitement about the team should be reserved for games.

“When I played, we just never really feel that it was necessary,” he said. “If you kind of go with the Butler Way and being humble and those things, it never felt right trying to bring in a midnight thing and bring in a concert and celebrate that. We always felt that it was kind of more fun to have the first experience be in a game atmosphere and get all the fans fired up for an actual game versus just an inter-squad scrimmage.”

Seth Wells is a sophomore sports media major and college basketball fan who speculated that former head coach Brad Stevens instilled a low-key mentality.

“I think that one of the reasons we don’t [have midnight madness] is because of Brad Stevens,” Wells said. “When he was here he liked to keep things kind of low key, liked to fly under the radar. That’s why we were the team that no one had ever heard about when we went to back to back championship games.”

Logan Holt is the Dawg Pound Public Relations Chair and said the history of the men’s program lends itself to a low-key event. 

In past years, Dawg Pound worked with then head coach Brad Stevens to host a blue/white scrimmage followed by short speeches from the coaches.

Holt said the spectacle of Midnight Madness does not fit the image of the university.

“It is not really something that fits Butler,” Holt said.

But does the lack of the event affect recruiting? Crone said he does not think so.

“I’m sure it might, just because some recruits probably love the spectacle of it, but honestly, I don’t think it hurts a great deal in terms of players,” Crone said. “It’s not like someone’s going to be like, ‘Well I went to their midnight madness and Butler didn’t have one, so I’m going to go there.’”