USC didn't have a Midnight Madness this year. Historically, they never have, so its lack of appearance on the schedule shouldn't come as a surprise. But that doesn't mean it shouldn't have been. Do the annual Midnight Madness events across the country even remotely resemble practices? Not in the slightest, but they're still important nonetheless, based on their, yes, entertainment value. Per SB Nation.com:
As Jewish culture modernized the event, the Bar Mitzvah became less about the sacred traditions and more about the celebration itself.
As Midnight Madness modernized, it became less about critical basketball practices and more about the spectacle of it all.
Nowadays both have become bloated, excessive galas that exist solely to photographers have something to do, are more for the guests than for the host and showcase old, white men dancing horribly.
Midnight Madness celebrations are certainly not about quality practice time. We've all come to understand that, but they encompass everything 'SC hoops needs - a celebration of the basketball program. There's no doubt that attendance would be sparse, at best, for such an event held at Galen Center. Most students would be drunk out on 28th street, and well, most fans are hesitant to travel to the venue during the day anyways.
But as a general rule, Kevin O'Neill and company, need an event, where its sole purpose is to generate excitement for the upcoming hoops season. A 2-hour loss in practice time is not going to become overly deterimental to the team's NCAA Tournament hopes.
Instead, what is becoming a rather alarming sign is the lack of support and dismal attendance record for the still relatively knew Galen Center. Last year, not one game sold out, and on some occasions, only 1/4 of the arena was full. Granted, the sanctions certainly didn't encourage fans to flock to Jefferson and Figueroa, but attendance has been on a steady decline since O.J. Mayo left after the 2007-2008 season. It wasn't just a sanctions problem.
It's time for the athletic department to place an emphasis on marketing for hoops. Over $140 million was spent on construction of the venue to begin with, so why not try not to fill it with some more bodies and I don't mean just offering special family ticket packages.
It's time to treat basketball like a serious entity; it's not a non-revenue sport. It needs some "excessive galas" to build some energy and interest in the program. Hosting a Salute to Troy this year is a start, but if anything is needed in terms of the hype machine, it's a Midnight Madness at Galen.