Virginia Tech fans pack Cassell Coliseum for 'College Gameday'
The Virginia Tech athletic department hoped Saturday morning's "College Gameday" telecast on ESPN would showcase the basketball culture the Hokies have built here in Blacksburg of late, and from first impressions, they accomplished just that.
More than 3,000 students and fans woke up early, brought creative posters, danced to "Enter Sandman" and packed one side of Cassell Coliseum to take part in the festivities. And though only one ESPN analyst actually picked Virginia Tech to win tonight's game against No. 1 Duke (Digger Phelps), that didn't stop them from being impressed with the atmosphere.
"That was as loud and as energetic and intense of a crowd as we've been in seven years on the road," ESPN's Rece Davis said. "We want to take the show where basketball is important and Seth and his entire staff have made basketball important here."
Some other highlights
***There were all sorts of notable Virginia Tech folks in attendance. The entire football staff made an appearance alongside a bevy of high school football prospects. Both Frank Beamer and Shane Beamer as well as Bud Foster and Cornell Brown got their own chants.
Also in the building was Bruce Smith, the former Hokies great and the NFL's career sack leader. His son, Alston, who is also a defensive lineman, was making an official visit to Virginia Tech this weekend, and Bruce Smith confirmed that Virginia Tech's coaching staff have offered Alston a scholarship.
***Coach Seth Greenberg didn't disappoint either. As he made his way out to be interviewed, he brought bottles of bubbles and packs of Bubblicious gum and gave one of each to the "College Gameday" crew, poking fun at the Hokies perpetual bubble status.
***Malcolm Delaney and Jeff Allen participated in a version of the newlywed game, and there were some funny moments as a result. For one, neither seemed to have a firm grasp of what exactly a Hokie is. Then, when Davis asked both who they would most like to go on a date with, Allen said Delaney's choice would be Michelle Obama. For the record, Allen chose Nicki Minaj and Delaney's pick was Meagan Good.
The biggest shocker came when Davis asked Delaney what his least favorite road trip was. Allen guessed Maryland, given Delaney's previous comments that the Terrapins "might have the worst fans ever." But Delaney ended up choosing Boston College.
Delaney closed the segment by revealing what he'd most like to tweet after Saturday night's game: "We beat No. 1 ... AGAIN!"
***I thought the signs in the crowd were maybe the most original I've seen during any sort of sporting event. Jay Bilas even mentioned something during the telecast. My personal favorite was the one where a fan replaced Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski's hair with Justin Bieber's. Courtesy of Robbie
Newman Newton (@fignewt807), you can see it for yourself.
***The official attendance was 3,197, which means State Farm will donate $3,197 to the Virginia Tech athletic department.
| February 26, 2011; 1:02 PM ET
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