Smile Politely

Madness back to Huff Gym

Without using the terms “abysmal failure” or “tail between its legs” the DIA made a good, pragmatic change of direction this week — returning Illini Basketball’s kickoff event to the intimate confines of Huff

After a few years of press releases and made-for-radio events praising the “insight” and “vision” of the people who brought you the World’s Outdoorest Basketball Practice (a date which will live in infamy), the PR gang has lost none of its enthusiasm. It’s merely setting the bar a little lower.

Here’s the press release:

Illinois Plans to Pump Up Student Volume at Illini Madness
Orange & Blue Scrimmage also will include Madness elements

Champaign, Ill.-The University of Illinois men’s basketball team will host Illini Madness on Friday, Oct. 15, at Huff Hall, with doors opening at 10 p.m. The event will be free and open to the general public.

“Two of my goals for this year’s Madness event were to place a strong emphasis on student attendance and create a very loud and energized atmosphere for our players to enjoy,” Fighting Illini men’s basketball coach Bruce Weber said. “We believe Huff Hall is the best place to make that happen. We’ve seen tremendous growth in student season tickets the past two years, so having Illini Madness right in the heart of campus at Huff also is a nice reward for the Orange Krush and other Illinois students who buy season tickets.”

Much of the volume at Illini Madness will emanate from DJ Steve Porter, one of the nation’s most popular club DJs. A huge sports fan, Porter decided to combine his love of sports and music in a cutting-edge manner that has made him one of YouTube’s biggest sensations. His YouTube videos have been viewed more than 20 million times.

The popularity of Porter’s videos has led to work with many well-known brands. Porter, of PorterHouse Media, created the 2010 NBA Playoffs television ad campaign and his work for ESPN includes video remixes for Sunday NFL Countdown and SportsNation, among other projects. Porter’s work as a DJ includes appearances at Lollapalooza, Miami’s Ultra Music Festival, and the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

“We are excited to add one of the nation’s top DJs to Illini Madness,” Assistant Director of Athletics Chris Hanna said. “Steve Porter has created a very unique niche in music, sports and technology. Illinois students will love the electric atmosphere Porter creates inside the confines of Huff Hall.”

Illini Madness will feature the shooting contest and dunk contest fans have come to expect from the Fighting Illini. Player introductions will be followed by the traditional scrimmage that marks the first practice of the year.

Doors will open at 10 p.m. and the event will begin when the building reaches capacity. That start time incorporates the time it will take the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics to clear the building and prepare Huff Hall for Illini Madness following the Illinois-Purdue volleyball match. That match begins at 7 p.m. and should end around 9 p.m. Illinois officials anticipate fans will begin lining up for Madness early due to the building’s limited capacity of less than 4,500.

Additionally, the annual Orange & Blue Scrimmage will be enhanced this year, allowing people that cannot attend Illini Madness to see some of the popular Madness elements. A shooting contest and dunk contest will be added to the Sunday, Oct. 24, Orange & Blue Scrimmage along with enhanced player introductions. Tickets for that event are on sale now for $10 at


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