STORRS, Conn. (AP) — Officials at Connecticut and Kentucky prepared for reaction from students Monday as the teams square off in the NCAA championship game.
UConn students began lining up outside Gampel Pavilion more than four hours before the game to get a good seat to watch on television.
“The game on Saturday, the line was literally two blocks down,” said Stephano Luzzi, 20, a junior from New Haven. “We could barely see the screens, this time we want to be sure we’re up front.”
The school also hired a disc jockey and planned a dance party after the game, in an effort to keep crowds of students under control — win or lose.
UConn spokeswoman Stephanie Reitz said extra campus police and state police would be patrolling in and around campus. And several local fire companies would be on standby with ambulances should they be needed.
Police and university officials at Kentucky were also preparing for celebrations from students.
They said large crowds have so far been mostly well-behaved and under control after previous wins. Authorities there say they doused more than 40 small fires, treated 12 people for minor injuries and arrested several others after Saturday’s win over Wisconsin.
At UConn, the school set up three large screens on the floor of the Huskies home arena. More than 8,000 students watched from the stands on Saturday as the team upset overall No. 1 seed Florida at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
A larger crowd was expected Monday night for the championship game against Kentucky.
Students said they expect the party to go on into the early morning hours win or lose. They say it may be especially loud outside the North Campus residence hall, where an email from a resident assistant bent on enforcing quiet hours went viral on Monday.
School officials confirmed the authenticity of the email, but said it was actually sent out to residents of the RA’s floor on Saturday, before the national semifinals. But it began getting wide circulation on social media sites on Monday.
The student, identified in the email only as “Derek” wrote that students partying because of a name on the front of a basketball jersey would be “cheering for laundry.”
“Midnight quiet hours still apply here,” he wrote. “So responsibly go nuts elsewhere.”
“He’s going to eat his words by the end of the night,” said Mitchell Goodwin, 19, a sophomore from New Haven. “Nobody’s going to get too crazy, but this whole campus is going to come together tonight.”
Storrs wasn’t the only place preparing for a party. Hartford Police Lt. Brian Foley said there would be an increased police presence at popular night spots there as well to get ahead of the celebration.
Insurance company Aetna said it would be illuminating the cupola on top of its Hartford headquarters in blue and white lights both Monday and Tuesday in support of the UConn men’s and women’s basketball teams.
The undefeated women play for a record ninth national title Tuesday in Nashville. The men are hoping for a fourth NCAA title.
The Husky teams came into Monday night a combined 11-0 in NCAA championship games.