Loyola University Chicago students and basketball fans are invited to celebrate the start of another season of exciting hoops action by attending Midnight Madness at Gentile Arena on the Lake Shore Campus on Friday, October 18. Admission to Midnight Madness is free, and the evening will feature a number of giveaways, including Nike gear and gift cards, free pizza and soft drinks, as well as interaction with the Loyola basketball teams.
To start the night's schedule of events, free pizza and soft drinks will be available for Loyola students at 8 p.m., in the Rockstar Lounge in Gentile Arena.
Other noteworthy activities on tap for the night include: free t-shirts for the first 1,000 students; the random selection of three lucky students to participate in the "Shot for Tuition" contest; performances by the Loyola Spirit Teams; a dunk contest featuring members of the Loyola men's basketball team; a three-point contest for both the Rambler men's and women's teams; and the introduction of both the Loyola men's and women's basketball squads.
Head men's basketball coach Porter Moser, who is beginning his third season on the Ramblers's bench, has a young, but talented squad that will be led by junior forward Christian Thomas. A year ago, Thomas developed into a force at both ends of the floor and contributed 12.1 points and 6.5 rebounds per game after managing 5.0 ppg and 4.1 rpg as a freshman in 2011-12. Moser will have a roster that has accumulated only 17 years of NCAA Division I experience and features just three scholarship upperclassmen.
One of the all-time greats in the game of women's basketball, Sheryl Swoopes, a three-time Olympic gold medalist and three-time WNBA Most Valuable Player, takes over the reins of the Loyola women's basketball program in 2013-14. Swoopes will benefit from the return of most of the key members of last year's squad that finish 17-15 and advanced to the title game of the Horizon League Championship. Two of the players Swoopes will rely on this season are 2013 Horizon League Newcomer of the Year Taylor Johnson (14.3 ppg, 6.0 rpg) and junior forward Simone Law who was a First Team All-Horizon League pick last winter after putting up 17.8 ppg and 8.7 rpg.
Loyola will be competing in its inaugural season as a member of the Missouri Valley Conference this winter.