By Ryan Goodman
January 27th, 2015
College Gameday is coming to Charlottesville. Finally.
The Virginia Men’s Basketball team has gone through decades of irrelevance, but now, under head coach Tony Bennett, The Wahoos have completely invigorated the program.
The Cavs now sit at 19-0 and are still ranked #2 in the nation, (AP and Coaches Poll), for the third week in a row.
Rewards are now starting to show up regularly. Virginia’s student section, dubbed the “Hoo Crew”, just received notice from the Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC) and the Atlanta Tipoff Club that they have won the third annual Naismith Student Section of the Year Award. Virginia won this award through two rounds of public voting on Facebook and Twitter and a scoring of the finalists by the Naismith Awards Board of Selectors. They edged schools with traditionally great student sections such as Arizona State University, University of Colorado, Indiana University, and the University of Kansas.
This is not the only thing the Virginia Men’s basketball community is being rewarded with, though.
After a surprisingly difficult win at lowly Virginia Tech this past Saturday, the #2 ranked Cavaliers will take on the #5 Duke Blue Devils and legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski, this Saturday, January 31st. The game tips off at 7:00 pm.
However, this is just the final act of the day.
At 9:00 am, The ESPN College Basketball Gameday crew, headlined by host Rece Davis and expert analysts Jay Bilas, Jay Williams, and Seth Greenberg will be in John Paul Jones Arena, previewing the marquee matchups of the day. Other activities, such as a student half-court shot challenge, a special guest appearance, and a exclusive interview with the head coach, are also on the schedule.
This is the first time Gameday has ever come to Charlottesville, for basketball or football.
The Gameday crew was at the University of Michigan last week for their primetime game versus #6 Wisconsin, and a couple of students who attended the morning festivities weighed in on the experience.
(From the Detroit Free Press) “To be right in the middle of the atmosphere and see GameDay live, you can’t pass that up,” said Maize Rage (Michigan’s student section) president Christian Tallarico.
“It’s a game-changer,” said Michigan sophomore Arianna Kefgen. “I love being at Crisler (Michigan’s Basketball arena) and all, but ESPN just makes it even more worth it to be here so early.”
In case anyone is interested in attending this Saturday, College Gameday is open to anyone, so you don’t have to be a student of the University if you’d like to go. The line officially starts at 7:00 am, with the doors opening at 9:00 am. The live broadcast, however, doesn’t start until 11:00 am.
Anybody who is a big fan of college sports is encouraged to go, because many have said that Gameday is a once-in-a-lifetime experience with a truly genuine and electrifying atmosphere.