By Claire McKinley, Newswire Intern
Musketeer Madness kicked off family weekend as fans flooded into the Cintas Center last Friday to welcome the start of the 2022 women’s and men’s basketball seasons.
The event began with a fan fest outside of Cintas Center. Students and their families could enjoy music, hotdogs, games, aswell as pose for a picture with the photogenic Blue Blob. When fan fest festivities ended, families funneled into Cintas and took their seats.
The women’s team, led by Head Coach Melanie Moore, started things off with team introductions. The crowd hyped them up as they came out dancing and singing. In addition to sunglasses, feather boas and the occasional dog on the hip, the team was sporting the new X-shirt. This year’s shirt, revealed at Muskie Madness, was available for purchase at the event.
After the team was announced, players partnered with students to compete in their annual three-point contest.
Not only were the men’s and women’s basketball teams introduced Friday night, but fans also got a look at the Xavier Dance Team, Cheer Team and Pep Band. The Xavier Dance Team even took to center court to perform a Pitbull medley.
Noelle Delumpa, a first-year Philosophy, Politics and the Public major has danced her whole life, but comments on how this performance was unlike any other.
“This was my first collegiate performance and because it took place in the Cintas Center the energy was electric. Performing is a feeling like none other and I can’t wait to continue supporting the Musketeers as the season unfolds,” she states.
The night was wrapped up with introductions to the men’s basketball team, followed by their exhibition scrimmage. The men came out wearing custom designed t-shirts, part of their new initiative called Musketeer Gear. The guys each got to create a design personal to them and print that on a t-shirt. It’s a way for Xavier Athletes to promote their NIL and establish a brand for the future.
Although Musketeer Madness is a time-honored tradition, the return of former head coach Sean Miller added a new level of excitement to the night. Sarah Jordan, a nursing major, is a first-year student and thrilled to be able to experience Xavier basketball for the first time.
“Muskie Madness made me excited to go to the basketball games and I can’t wait to watch them take on some of the bigger schools! I know Sean Miller has a history here and I hope he can build upon Xavier’s success” she remarked.
Miller was head coach of the musketeers from 2004-2009, but is back and honored to be a part of the Xavier community once again.
“I just wanted to remind everybody in this building, you know, the last thirteen years I’ve been away and coaching in different places. No building has ever made me feel the same.” Miller commented on the energy in Cintas.
Fans heard the importance of their presence at home games as Miller spoke about the impact they could have on this year’s basketball season.
“I would just encourage everybody that our greatest competitive advantage is you in this building. And this year, come on out like you never have before because we are going to have a very exciting season and we look forward to getting us back to where we belong.” Miller emphasized.
After remarks from Miller, the two teams took to the court. The white team was coached by Sean Miller and the blue team was led by assistant coach Dante Jackson. The blue team got off to a solid start and maintained the lead for most of the game. But the white team never quit and made a comeback to win it 50-46.
While it was a great experience for first-years to get a taste of basketball life at Xavier, those that were here last year found elements of it underwhelming. The event this year was a little scaled back and did not last the full two hours. Pep Band member and Biology majorsophomore Lauren Kellner missed some of the elements that made Musketeer Madness so special last year.
“Don’t get me wrong it was still great, but I noticed there was a lot less fire than last year and I would have loved to see the women’s team scrimmage and the trick show contest. I also wished the Pep band had been able to play more of the songs we had rehearsed.”