Maryland Madness is here, but will the Big Ten change it?

By Justin Meyer

Maryland Madness, a staple of Terrapin basketball for more than 40 years, will not be as focused on the program’s history and will aim to look forward instead, as the Terps move to the Big Ten Conference.

Last year’s event focused on past accomplishments and Maryland’s time in the Atlantic Coast Conference, as it was their last season as a member. Sophomore business major and student basketball manager Ryan Lumpkin said this year, fans can expect Maryland Madness to be different.

“It’s not going to be as big of a history thing because we’re more focused on this season,” Lumpkin said. “We had a lot of guys leave. We’re not focused on that. We’re focused on what we’re going to accomplish with this year’s team.”

Lumpkin said the players view Maryland Madness as a sign that the season is restarting.

“It’s not a stressful thing like a game,” he explained. “They’re just focused on having fun. They love to look forward to it. This is their first taste of officially being back. Once we look forward to Maryland Madness coming up, the next focus is the season and getting started.”

The emphasis of the event isn’t the only thing that’s different this year. Last year, Maryland Madness was held in Cole Fieldhouse but will be moving back to the Xfinity Center in 2014, which will give fans a look at the arena’s new scoreboard, Lumpkin said.

“The new jumbotron will give a better preview of what you can expect from the game day atmosphere once play starts,” he said. “That’ll be a fun thing to experience.”

Sophomore journalism major Kofie Yeboah said he would rather the event be held in Cole.

“Having it in Cole would be better even though it seats less people [than the Xfinity Center],” he said. “Maryland Madness should be an honoring of Cole because it’s one of the most historic venues in college basketball.”

Additionally, the admission style for Maryland Madness is different this year. Previously, students would need to request tickets online like they do for games, but this time admission is granted on a first come, first serve basis with the presentation of an UID. Lumpkin said he thinks this will increase the turn out.

“I think the students don’t really pay attention to the ticket request,” he said. “For the soccer games how they can just walk in and can just show up, I think that’s a cooler thing. You’ll get students that will be more inclined to just show up.”

Yeboah disagrees with Lumpkin on the new admission style.

“I hate it,” he explained. “If anything, I want there to be order and I want people who really, really want to go. People who really want to go will reserve tickets. I wouldn’t want random students to walk by and be like, ‘oh, that’s today,’ and just get in line.”

Sophomore psychology major Sam Lipsky, a self-described lifetime Maryland fan, said he thinks the new admission style will benefit the event.

“I think it gets the real fans in there,” he said. “The people who want to be there will be there. Those are the people who are willing to wait, like me.”

Lipsky said that even though the event doesn’t change much between the years, the passion he has for Maryland basketball doesn’t change.

“I’ll probably go to Maryland Madness and it’ll be nothing special, just like the other years, but it lets me know that basketball season is coming up,” Lipsky said. “It gets me amped.”

Not every student is as excited about Maryland Madness as Lumpkin and Lipsky. Yeboah said he didn’t go last year and isn’t planning to go this year.

“I didn’t go because I thought it was a glorified pep rally and I’m not into that sort of thing,” he explained. “It seems like fake excitement. I’m not going to sit there and get excited for something that won’t happen for two or three more weeks down the road.”

Yeboah said Maryland Madness only gets more casual fans eager for the season.

“I feel like the true basketball fans, we’re already excited for the season,” he said. “Maryland Madness can make non-excited fans excited, but it won’t make excited fans more excited because that passion is already in them.”

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