Basketball to Tip Off Husker Madness Oct. 14

The Nebraska men's and women's basketball teams plan to tip off their 2005-06 basketball seasons with an exciting and fun event for the whole family with "Husker Madness" at the Bob Devaney Sports Center on Friday, Oct. 14.

A full schedule of interactive events with Nebraska fans, players and coaches are being planned to make "Husker Madness" a fun-filled evening for Nebraska fans of all ages. The festivities will also provide an unmatched bargain for Nebraska fans with free admission and great deals at the concession areas including $1 Pepsi products and $1 hot dogs at the event.

Doors will open early at the Devaney Center for a special "Select Your Seat" promotion for women's basketball current and prospective season ticket holders beginning at 3 p.m. The evening's festivities for "Husker Madness" start at 7 p.m.

"NCAA rule changes have given our basketball programs a great opportunity to host a Midnight Madness-type event in prime time, rather than the middle of the night," Executive Associate Athletic Director Marc Boehm said. "We plan to take full advantage of this opportunity to help promote our teams and more importantly give our great fans a chance to interact with our student-athletes at a really exciting time of the year for our players and coaches."

The Nebraska men's basketball team has also experienced growing excitement during the offseason with a strong incoming class of players. The event will give Husker fans the first chance to see the much-anticipated debuts of B.J. Walker, Jamel White, Marcus Walker, Kyle Marks, Chris Balham and Mike Smith, along with the return of honorable-mention All-Big 12 guard Joe McCray, Australian Under-21 National Team starter Aleks Maric, and Nebraska natives Wes Wilkinson and Jason Dourisseau.

Nebraska Coach Barry Collier said Husker Madness is another way to get fans involved with the program.

"We think this is a great way to open the season with a family-friendly event. We love the support of our fans and students, especially the Red Zone," Collier said. "We hope they enjoy seeing our returning players and our newcomers and help us get our 2006 season started on a high note."

Along with the introduction of all of Nebraska's men's and women's players for the 2005-06 season, the festivities will include a Three-Point Contest and a Dunk Competition, along with scrimmages by both the men's and women's basketball teams.

Nebraska's Spirit Squads, including the Scarlets dance team, will perform, along with Herbie Husker and Lil' Red. The Nebraska Pep Band will also be out in full force at the event.

Nebraska players and coaches will be available for autographs during the event, and Athletic Ticket Office representatives will be on hand throughout the evening to fill season ticket orders for both men's and women's basketball.

The activities surrounding Husker Madness will begin early with a "Select Your Seat" event for women's basketball fans, beginning at 3 p.m. Husker women's basketball fans will get a chance to choose their seat location for the season with purchase or renewal of their season tickets.

"We have had good response from our women's basketball fans in the past with our Select Your Seat promotion, and we expect more of the same this year," Assistant Athletic Director for Ticketing John Anderson said. "Nebraska women's basketball attendance has been on a dramatic upswing over the past two seasons, and we are hoping for even more growth this year."

Coach Connie Yori's Huskers have earned back-to-back postseason trips with 18-win seasons in both 2004 and 2005, and are hoping for even more in 2006. The Husker women finished with a .500 record in Big 12 play for the first time in five years in 2004-05 and return first-team All-Big 12 guard Kiera Hardy and Big 12 Newcomer-of-the-Year Jelena Spiric. Two other returning starters, Elena Diaz (Colombia) and Chelsea Aubry (Canada), played with their country's senior national teams this summer and will bring even more experience to a talented NU lineup.

Nebraska's success on the court over the past two seasons has helped put the women's basketball program back among the top 25 nationally in average home attendance. Last season, the Huskers averaged more than 4,000 fans per game, including a pair of crowds of over 12,000.

"We feel like Nebraska women's basketball is on the rise and we are hoping to continue that climb this year," Yori said. "We are hoping Husker Madness will encourage fans to come along for the ride during exciting seasons for both our men's and women's basketball teams."

For season ticket information please visit Huskers.com or call the Nebraska Athletic Ticket Office at 1-800-8BIGRED.


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