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U of M students give mixed reviews to revamped basketball season rollout

Student reaction was mixed about the University of Memphis’ basketball programs replacing Memphis Madness with a Memphis Basketball Block Party this year.

On Saturday (Oct. 15) afternoon, U of M students and fans gathered outside the on-campus University Center to celebrate the beginning of the men’s and women’s basketball seasons.

The Block Party featured music, the pom squad, cheerleaders, and the introduction of each basketball team.

Action Pack performing at the Block Party. (Photo: Warren Roseborough/The New Tri-State Defender)

Celebrated Memphis rappers Kevo Muney and Action Pack revved up the crowd, especially U of M students.

The success of the event varied from student to fan, with some enjoying the new format.

Senior U of M student Madison Penke enjoyed the latest version, and she feels it could start a new tradition for the school and the teams.

“The event was great overall. I think this could be the start of a new and improved tradition. Of course, this was the first year so there are things to be worked out but overall, the event was a success.”

Pouncer (left, the mascot for the Memphis Tigers) greets Empress Walker. (Photo: Warren Roseborough/The New Tri-State Defender)

Other students were not as enthusiastic about this year’s version.

Sophomore Octavius Lamar and senior Ellie-Rose Focht both agreed that the FedExForum version of Memphis Madness better suits the university.

“Memphis Madness at the FedExForum was something I’ve attended since I was a kid, and it always brought the city together. I do not know if we accomplished that this year,” Lamar said.

An avid Memphis football and basketball, Focht was not impressed by the build-up to the block party and surmised that it played a significant role in the smaller turnout than usual.

“I wasn’t really pumped about this year’s version of Memphis Madness,” Focht said. “The hype for it didn’t really exist like it did for past years, when people really were looking forward to it.”

Katrina Merriweather, second-year head coach of the University of Memphis women’s basketball team, greets fans. (Photo: Warren Roseborough/The New Tri-State Defender)

Katrina Merriweather and Penny Hardaway, the head coaches of the women’s and men’s basketball programs respectively, talked about the event prior to the kickoff. Both discussed this not being a permanent move, but an attempt to try something different.

Memphis Tigers head coach Penny Hardaway takes in questions from the media. (Photo: Warren Roseborough/The New Tri-State Defender)

Student Penke thinks the Block Park can be sustained because it allows students to be more involved with the audience.

Lamar, on the other hand, preferred a transition back to the Memphis Madness of old at the FedExForum.

“Compared to the way of old, it failed,” he said. “I would like it if they moved it back to the FedExForum and brought that excitement back. Nonetheless, Go Tigers Go!”


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