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Florida to hold "Gators Madness" tip-off event on October 2

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Florida's putting its basketball programs on display.

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Florida will stage a tip-off event for its basketball programs for the first time in nearly a decade on October 2, the school announced Tuesday.

The Florida men’s and women’s basketball teams will host the Florida basketball tip-off event at 9 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 2, at the O’Connell Center with free admission for all fans to get their first look at the 2015-16 Gators.

Fans will have a chance to hear from head coaches Mike White and Amanda Butler and see the new men’s coaching staff, four newcomers and three players who sat out last season in action for the first time. On the women’s side, watch five seniors suit-up for their final season wearing the Orange & Blue and welcome four newcomers and a pair of new assistant coaches to the court.

In addition to the basketball teams, the Dazzlers, Cheerleaders and UF Band will provide entertainment along with Albert and Alberta.

The move is something of a surprise, but with White entering his first season as Florida's head coach — and facing an deficit of enthusiasm from fans for whom his inability to corporeally be Billy Donovan is a bummer — and Butler's team heading into a make-or-break year, it's a strong one. While Florida is unlikely to trot out celebrities like the ones other schools use as recruiting tools for their glitzy season tip-offs, small things like staging a dunk contest or an intergender game of G-A-T-O-R-S would go a long way for fans, especially students that might not have anything else to do on a given night.

And, frankly, I've been itching to see a "Midnight Madness" event at Florida for years and years — the school hasn't had one, to the best of my knowledge, since 2006-07, when it staged a heart-stopping stunt with a fake national championship trophy...

...and put on a dunk contest featuring Corey Brewer skying over (a seated) Al Horford.

If this year's Gators Madness is at least in the range of that, I think it'll be great.