UConn basketball season grows closer with First Night festivities 

The UConn Women’s Basketball team plays their senior game against Xavier University winning 60-51 on Monday, Feb. 27, 2023, in Gampel Pavilion. The Huskies will play their first game of the Big East Women’s Basketball Tournament on Saturday, Mar. 4 at the Mohegan Sun Arena. File Photo/ The Daily Campus.

It’s an event in Storrs that fans and students alike have had circled on their calendars for a while.   

With the arrival of Oct. 13 comes First Night, the first massive sign that UConn’s basketball season is right around the corner. It’s easily one of the most loaded versions of the event in years with the men’s team coming off a National Championship and the women’s team hungry to grab championship no. 12. If you’re a current student, especially a freshman who has yet to experience the intense competition that is UConn basketball, this is the dream scenario and a must-see event to start your weekend right.   

But, it’s not just something that fans circle on their calendars. It’s also something that the players look forward to as well. To step on the stage at Gampel Pavillion, hear your name called in front of the entire student body and get a small taste of what it’s like to play in the “Basketball Capital of the World” is truly an incredible experience.  

Even recruits like Isaiah Abraham and Patrick Ngongba will be in attendance to watch and experience the fantastic atmosphere. It’s so much more than just an opportunity to get fans excited about next season. 

But what exactly will happen at First Night in 2023? The event schedule for First Night will start with player introductions, then a three-point contest, include a hot-shot contest and finally a skills competition. The cherry on top of everything scheduled is that the men’s basketball program will also receive their National Championship rings on Friday, while the National Championship banner will be raised early next month on Nov. 6.  

While Husky fans were upset to hear that there would be no traditional dunk contest, an event that saw current Huskies big man Samson Johnson win last year, there is a dunk interlude that will be happening during First Night. Notably, it should be plenty of fun with attendence by Azzi Fudd and Paige Bueckers. 

While no games or even scrimmages will be played, there’s no doubt in the minds of UConn fans that there will be plenty of excitement in the air throughout Gampel Pavillion and the Storrs campus. This is the same event that sold out in just under 15 hours, according to the UConn Huskies social media page. It’s going to be a blast. 

The entire event schedule is expected to kickoff at 5 p.m. with a block party on Jim Calhoun Way, with the doors to Gampel Pavillion expected to open at 6 p.m. and the pregame show expected to start shortly after at 6:30 p.m. First Night will officially begin at 7 p.m. that evening. 

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