Minnesota basketball ready to host its version of “Midnight Madness”

The Gophers basketball program will host its version of âÄúMidnight MadnessâÄù tonight at Williams Arena . While most schools hold their preseason kickoff events at midnight, MinnesotaâÄôs will start at 9 p.m ., and will feature a scrimmage, three-point shooting contest and slam-dunk contest . Head coach Tubby Smith , now in his second year , resurrected the tradition of âÄúMidnight MadnessâÄù in 2007 after a four-year absence from campus . Organized as college-style pep rallies, âÄúMidnight MadnessâÄù events are usually free to the public, as MinnesotaâÄôs is , and offer a more intimate look at players and coaches. Last year, Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan danced to Soulja BoyâÄôs âÄúCrank That,âÄù and Smith danced as well . After coming to the Gophers from Kentucky, Smith went 18-12 with a Gophers team that finished 9-22 the year before, and narrowly missed an at-large berth in the NCAA tournament . His 2008 recruiting class is ranked No. 22 in the nation by Rivals.com, and some recruiting services rank his 2009 class in the top-10 . The Gophers start their season Monday, Nov. 3 in an exhibition against St. Cloud State, and their Big Ten season Dec. 31 against Michigan State . Hoopla set for Saturday The womenâÄôs basketball team will continue its season kick-off as well this weekend. The Gophers will host their annual Hoopla event at Williams Arena Saturday. The event will start at noon, with doors opening at 11 a.m. MinnesotaâÄôs scoring leader and guard, Emily Fox will show off some of her other skills during the affair. The senior will boast her famous sport stacking skills, something that has earned her national attention. The Gophers will scrimmage for 10 minutes and conclude festivities with an autograph session for fans in attendance. -Paul J. Cordes