Things were pretty normal for the opening night of practice for Division I men's basketball.
Most of Friday night's events were called some form of madness, from Big Blue to Mountaineer to First Night. Most of them ended well before the midnight part of many of their names.
There were also some coaches who let the fans know things were going to be serious this season.
Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun didn't promise a repeat of last season's national championship — the Huskies' third in a span of 13 years — but he didn't discourage any thoughts of it.
Calhoun said he believes his team may be more talented than the one that beat Butler in April.
Kentucky made it to the Final Four as well last season, but the Wildcats lost to Connecticut in the semifinals.
Coach John Calipari made it clear what this season's goal is by saying it's time to turn the page from anticipation to preparation.
"Tonight we begin to write the next chapter," Calipari said. "Tonight we feel the Kentucky effect in full force as we once again redefine college basketball. ... We see no plateaus. We see no stopping points. Let's persist beyond what it is, and let's try to create what was never before imagined. We do more than move the needle. We are the needle. We are UK."
Vanderbilt isn't one of the schools that is usually mentioned in terms of being a national contender. But the Commodores have all five starters back this year.
"More than ever before we are going to be the hunted rather than the hunter," coach Kevin Stallings said. "We expect to get everyone's best shot. We look forward to getting everyone's best shot. We are excited about perhaps being a program that can have that said about them. Quite honestly, we have never been that program before. That has always been Kentucky or Florida or somebody else in the (Southeastern Conference). Maybe, we have a chance to be that program now."
Some of the highlights of the start of practice:
This was the seventh time Big Blue Madness was held at Rupp Arena, and Kentucky opened the doors at 6 p.m. with fans filling 20,000-plus seats quickly. Students in the section behind one basket held up a very large banner reading "KENTUCKY BASKETBALL NEVER STOPS" before the festivities started.
Kentucky kicked it off with a video highlighting the hundreds of students who camped out in tents for tickets to attend Big Blue Madness. As freshman Anthony Davis said in the video, "They just want to see us win a championship this year."
The Wildcats came down white staircases bookending a large video screen on the stage at one end of Rupp, and the fans stayed on their feet.
Connecticut's teams showed off their skills in front of their fans for the first time since the men brought home the program's third national championship and the women returned from their 12th Final Four.
They showed off their athleticism for more than 10,000 fans who came out to watch the school's annual "First Night" show.
Freshman guard Ryan Boatright, who is generously listed in the media guide at 6-feet, won the dunk contest. Niels Giffey topped freshman Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis from the women's team in the 3-point contest, and there was dancing and contests for students, even appearances from alumni such as Ray Allen and the hero of last year's national title run, Kemba Walker.
Hours after letting Kansas fans hear some bad news about the program, Jayhawks coach Bill Self made a lot of them smile.
On Friday afternoon, Self announced that the NCAA ruled freshmen Ben McLemore and Jamari Traylor partial qualifiers and they won't eligible to play this season.
On Friday night, Self rode to the center of James Naismith Court on a specially made Kansas motorcycle to commemorate the 2008 national championship. He was even wearing a black leather jacket and black leather chaps. It wasn't his idea to wear the chaps.
"They told me I need to look like a biker for whatever reason," Self said. "I tried to do what they ask me to do."
McLemore and Traylor will be able to practice starting Dec. 16, and will be eligible for competition for the 2012-13 season. They can work out and lift on their own.
Vanderbilt hosted its first Midnight Madness session in six years. Vanderbilt went 23-11 last season but failed to get out of the first round of the NCAA tournament for the second straight year. Each of the starters and the top three reserves return. Among those coming back are John Jenkins, Jeffery Taylor and Festus Ezeli — all three passed on entering the NBA draft last spring.
Butler stuck to its traditional opening-night schedule. Coach Brad Stevens closed practice, ditched the dunk contests and got down to coaching basketball earlier than most other teams.
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.
The Bulldogs never celebrated Midnight Madness when it was covered live on late-night television, and still don't open it up for fans even though the NCAA has agreed to let teams start working out earlier in the day.
New Arkansas coach Mike Anderson received the loudest ovation inside Bud Walton Arena. He walked back onto the court he called home as an assistant coach for 17 seasons under former coach Nolan Richardson. Anderson was greeted with plenty of support from the estimated 5,000 who attended "Primetime at the Palace."
North Carolina kicked off a season of high expectations in front of a packed arena of about 21,000 fans. The Tar Heels held their annual "Late Night with Roy" preseason event in the Smith Center, which included an intrasquad scrimmage as well as the players performing dances and skits in a night of fun before things get serious for a team expected to contend for the national championship.
All five starters are back from a team that won the Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season title and got within a game of the Final Four.
Memphis unveiled its team before an almost full house at the FedExForum.
Fans were waiting outside the arena when the doors opened 90 minutes before the start of Memphis Madness. The festivities included a dunk contest, a 3-point shooting display and a scrimmage.
Rapper Rick Ross was supposed to be the featured entertainment for the evening, but he had a medical problem on a flight from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to Memphis, that forced him to miss the event.
CBT: Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski made it official that he'll be coaching Team USA at the 2016 Rio Olympics, and he'll also be with Duke at least that long, too.
Latest from CollegeBasketballTalk
College basketball videos
Team USA prolongs Coach K's tenure at Duke
DPS: Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski joins the Dan Patrick Show to talk about his decision to return as Team USA basketball coach. Coach K admits coaching in the Olympics has extending his tenure at Duke, saying, “I wouldn’t stop coaching at Duke while I am still the National [team] coach.”
Three cheers for college hoops
Take a look at cheerleaders in action from around the country.