Santa, Ronald McDonald and 24 Hours of Hoops

Santa, Ronald McDonald and 24 Hours of Hoops

VALPARAISO, Ind. — It was 5 a.m., and the question occurred: Why was a sophomore in a Santa Claus outfit tailgating in the parking lot outside the basketball arena?


``Why not?'' Joey Basio asked.


OK, he had me there. Never expect normalcy when you've come to see a basketball game that tips off 20 minutes after sunrise.


Tuesday was ESPN's annual Tip-Off Marathon, which means somewhere, someone had to get up and play at an insane hour. The wake-up call for the Valparaiso Crusaders was 4:30 a.m., the team breakfast at Jimmy's Café five blocks from campus was 5:10, and they were missing their first open shots — there'd be a few of those — by 7:10.


Usually, if players anywhere are running up and down the gym floor at 7 a.m., they're being punished for cutting class.

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