Hoops Mania poised to electrify ‘Nova Nation

Stephen Buszka

While the official Villanova basketball season does not start until Nov. 11 against Northwood University, for fans, the season starts tomorrow for Hoops Mania.

Last year’s Hoops Mania was a huge success. The Pavilion was filled to capacity with roaring Wildcat fans. Brian Papson, director of marketing and special events at the University, estimates that there were approximately 5,000 members of ‘Nova Nation in attendance. The aim for this year is to build off of last year’s success.

“The Pavilion was electric last year and we’re trying to capture that excitement and continue build on it this year,” Papson said.

Papson anticipates another packed house this year and hopes fans will be even more enthusiastic. Giveaways and contests will help pump up the crowd. Students will be asked to fill the student section of The Pavilion first, and all Villanovans lucky enough to capture a seat there will be given a rally towel. The freebies don’t stop there. As with last year, there will be plenty of T-shirts tossed into the crowd, although Papson hopes that most fans will already be dressed in the new ‘Nova Nation shirts that debuted earlier this year and have been in selling at a quick pace.

A few lucky fans may even come away with more than cotton products. Chances to win big prizes include $50,000 cash, a two-year lease on a 2006 Land Rover Sports, a year’s supply of Pepsi, a year’s supply of Dominoes, up to $250 for books next semester, two chances at an Unlimited Meal Plan for the spring semester and tickets to Nightmares Extreme Scream Park at the Wachovia Spectrum.

As for entertainment, there will be several surprises.

As with last year, Hoops Mania will also feature player introductions, as well as the Blue versus White scrimmage which gives students and others in attendance a first-hand look at this year’s team. It will also allow fans to grow familiar with some of the new players who will look to step up and fill the void created after the departure of several of last year’s upperclassmen.

The doors will open to the public at 7 p.m., and the program will start at 8 p.m. Seating is first-come, first-serve, but admission is free.

Events do not end after Hoops Mania. For the first time ever, an after-party called Overtime, hosted by CAT’s Late Nite, will be held in the Villanova Room of Connelly Center. Villanova’s DJ AJ will emcee the event. The men’s basketball team will also make an appearance.

The party will start immediately after Hoops Mania and run until 2 a.m.