Midnight Madness Kicks Off 2000-01 Basketball Seasons on Friday|
Oct. 11, 2000
Last season, both the University of Illinois at Chicago's men's and women's basketball teams fell just short of reaching the Midwestern Collegiate Conference championships last season.
The men's team dropped an 80-72 semifinal decision to Detroit while the women's team fell at the hands of conference champion University of Wisconsin at Green Bay, 70-63 in the semifinals.
UIC men's basketball coach Jimmy Collins and women's basketball coach Tim Eatman both have been eagerly awaiting the start of the 2000-2001 season.
"I am extremely excited about the upcoming season," Collins said. "I can see the enthusiasm around the campus and with the students' involvement."
Their opportunities will surface Friday night when both basketball teams participate in Midnight Madness at the UIC Pavilion. NCAA players can officially start practicing at the stroke of midnight.
"I think it's more than excitement," Eatman said. "It's more interest. It's the opportunity to get on the court Saturday and see how we made progress from where we left off last year."
Festivities will begin with a Tip Off party from 8 to 10 PM in Parking Lot 11 nearthe UIC Pavilion. The Harlem Wizards will take the court at 10:00 PM, followed by a performance from the Cheerleaders and the Danciing Flames. Both basketball teams will take the court at 12:00 AM.
Eatman, who is entering his third year as the Flames' head coach, is looking forward to having 10 returning players that know and understand his system.
"Now we can start moving on from there," Eatman said. "From that standpoint, I'm excited that we don't have to go back from square one and start teaching the system."
Collins is returning all five starters in guards Cory Little (Addison, Ill./Addison Trail) and T.J. Mixon (South Holland, Ill./Thornwood), forwards Joe Scott (Palos Hills, Ill./Stagg) and Maurice Brown (Syracuse, N.Y./Henninger) and center Thor Solverson (Lake Zurich, Ill./Lake Zurich).
Brown, a member of the 2000 All-MCC Newcomer team, led the Flames' with 9.5 points and 6.7 rebounds a game.
Eatman realizes that while Friday provides his squad an opportunity to let loose, he will soon tighten the reins.
"I want the kids to have fun (on Friday)," Eatman said. "I want them to shoot the ball and do all the things they want to do.
"When Saturday morning comes, we'll get down to business."