Lincoln - The Nebraska Athletic Department announced plans Wednesday, June 19, for a historic day-night doubleheader for Husker women’s and men’s basketball to celebrate their regular-season openers at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Friday, Nov. 8.
The first regular-season basketball game inside the arena tips off at noon between a pair of 2013 top-20 teams when Coach Connie Yori’s Husker women face UCLA. The game between the Huskers, who advanced to the 2013 NCAA Sweet 16 and finished No. 18 in the final USA Today Coaches Top 25, and the Bruins, who finished No. 15 in the USA Today rankings after advancing to the NCAA second round, will follow a special morning Husker Life Skills event inside Pinnacle Bank Arena. The “Invest 2 Be The Best” pep rally is expected to include approximately 5,000 middle school students from Lincoln and surrounding communities.
The Huskers’ historic day at Pinnacle Bank Arena will conclude with another marquee matchup between the Nebraska men’s basketball team and 2013 NCAA Sweet 16 participant Florida Gulf Coast. The tip time for the season-opening sellout with “Dunk City” in the “Star City” has not been set, but the game will be televised nationally in primetime by BTN.
Season tickets for Nebraska men’s basketball have sold out for the first time in school history, and the sellout promises to give the men the largest season-opening home crowd in Husker history in their first regular-season game inside Pinnacle Bank Arena. The $179 million arena will seat more than 15,000 fans. Coach Tim Miles’ second Husker team will face a Florida Gulf Coast squad that returns four starters from a team that became the first No. 15 seed in NCAA history to reach the Sweet 16. The Eagles will be under the direction of new head coach Joe Dooley.
“We’re thrilled with the caliber of competition our teams will face on opening day and night at Pinnacle Bank Arena,” Nebraska Executive Associate Athletic Director Marc Boehm said. “We also wanted to reach out to people of all ages from Lincoln and the surrounding communities, so they could join us in the celebration of a truly historic day in the Haymarket. Partnering with Lincoln Public Schools and other schools in the area gives local youth a chance to see the first regular-season game inside the arena and be a part of history.
“With school-record record season-opening crowds for both the men and women for NCAA Tournament-caliber teams, we think it will be a momentous day for the city of Lincoln and the state of Nebraska, and the start of a memorable first season at the new arena.”
Nebraska Associate Athletic Director for Life Skills Keith Zimmer and his staff will be coordinating a pep rally, which will give students a chance to hear inspirational life skills and academic messages from Husker student-athletes and staff, before helping to tip off the opening of the arena.
“The interest level and enthusiasm from school administrators in Lincoln and nearby communities for the ‘Invest 2 Be the Best’ pep rally has been very strong,” Zimmer said. “Through music and other entertainment, students and staff will be encouraged to discover unique talents, get involved in their communities and strive to be multi-dimensional. It promises to be a memorable morning and afternoon, not only to be inspired at the pep rally but to enjoy a marquee women’s basketball game at the new arena.”
Nebraska has sold a school record of more than 2,600 women’s basketball season tickets for 2013-14, an increase of nearly 500 tickets over the start of last season. Season tickets went on sale May 8, and NU’s total has been growing on a daily basis. The increase in season ticket sales and the “Invest 2 Be The Best” pep rally will not only guarantee the Husker women the largest season-opening crowd in school history, but also the largest crowd for a non-conference game in the history of the program.
The women’s game between Nebraska and UCLA will be televised live statewide by NET-HD.