UConn basketball fans chomping at the bit to see their teams in action again don't have to wait much longer.
The University released details Monday for "First Night", the official tip-off to the 2012-2013 basketball season, which will be held Friday, Oct. 12. What used to be "Midnight Madness", a chance for teams to begin working out on the first day the NCAA allows programs to begin organized practices, has now become a spectacle, including a deejay, pyrotechnics and a dunk contest - and it's all open to the public.
For the UConn men's team, this year's festivities kick off what will be an uncertain season. This season will be one without Jim Calhoun as head coach for the first time in more than a quarter century and season in which the Huskies know going in that they will not be in the Big East Tournament or NCAA Tournament, thanks to a low APR score that has made them ineligible for post-season play. Kevin Ollie participated in his share of "First Night" celebrations at UConn, but this will be his first as head coach.
For Geno Auriemma and the UConn women, the goal will be to win another national title, something the team last accomplished in 2010. The Huskies made it to the Final Four last season where they fell to Notre Dame.
First Night is also a chance for fans to get a glimpse of the new members of the Huskies. For the UConn women, that means we'll get a first look at Breanna Stewart, the 2011 USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year, as well has her fellow freshmen teammates Morgan Tuck and Moriah Jefferson.
In addition to introducing a new head coach, the UConn men's team will debut freshman Omar Calhoun, Leon Tolksdorf and Phillip Nolan, as well as graduate student transfer R.J. Evans.
For fans who want to attend, the day will begin with a FanFest on Fairfield Way at 3 p.m. on Oct. 12. The doors to Gampel Pavilion open at 4 p.m., where you can see the UConn volleyball team take on Cincinnati. Both the men's and women's basketball teams will sign autographs from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The big show gets underway at 7 p.m. According to UConn, fans will be treated to performances by the marching band, the cheer and dance squads, a dunk contest and even giveaways.