Fans of the Duquesne Dukes have long wanted something resembling the midnight madness events that other schools frequently use to kick off their college basketball seasons. There have been many attempts and results have been mixed.
The Dukes were pretty close to replicating a true Madness event as recent as a few years ago. This was the scrimmage effort that ultimately resulted in the Eric Evans injury, and that seemed to be the end of that.
Last year’s event was essentially a bunch of layup drills and team introductions. A nice idea, but very low key and low energy.
This year, on October 17, the athletic department is trying something a bit different yet again and is billing this one as “the first of its kind.” Called “Dukes Madness,” the event is specifically for Duquesne students. It will feature a 3-on-3 basketball tournament for students and a host of other events with an eye on getting people to Palumbo. This madness event will also feature the “world premiere” of the new intro videos for the men’s and women’s teams.
Of course, the event will also feature the number one draw for college students – free food. When I was at Duquesne, that was all that I needed to hear.
Putting this on a Thursday night isn’t a bad play. There are fewer classes on Fridays for many students at Duquesne. The event won’t be up against Friday night bar crawls or whatever other less Duquesneable mischief the students may want to get into.
On the one hand, it would be easy to criticize the event. Alumni have looked for something that could be a draw for all, and an intramural tournament isn’t going to do that. The invitation is restrictive and it seems pretty clear that Dukes Madness will be a student-only event (unless the announcement is worded poorly).
On the other hand, alums should applaud the shift in tactics. There has been a lot of discussion amongst alumni about ramping up student engagement in the basketball teams. The athletic department and their has quite clearly targeted the students with this event and the free food. We’ll just have to see how big of a success it is.
Here’s a link to the formal announcement on the GoDuquesne athletic site.