by Aaron Beard, Associated Press
CHAPEL HILL — The college basketball season is officially here.
From North Carolina's "Late Night With Roy" event to Kentucky's "Big Blue Madness" that drew a packed crowd to Rupp Arena, Friday night featured a busy schedule of Midnight Madness-style events around the country that stand as the ceremonial kickoff to the 2016-17 season.
Similar events were slated for Michigan State, Arizona, Maryland, Iowa State and Connecticut among other schools.
Coming off an appearance in the NCAA championship game, the Tar Heels held their "Late Night" event at the Smith Center, with Hall of Fame coach Roy Williams drawing a standing ovation as he walked onto the court ahead of player introductions for his 14th team at his alma mater.
The Tar Heels return a veteran team after losing to Villanova on Kris Jenkins' buzzer-beating 3-pointer in the NCAA title game — a group that quickly commenced with a series of skills contests and dancing for fans before holding an intrasquad scrimmage to cap the night.