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Posted at 1:02 PM ET, 02/26/2011

Virginia Tech fans pack Cassell Coliseum for 'College Gameday'

By Mark Giannotto

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.

By Mark Giannotto  | February 26, 2011; 1:02 PM ET
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Next: Virginia Tech vs. Duke: Hokies pull off upset, 64-60


*Newton. Not Newman

Posted by: Fignewt807 | February 26, 2011 3:09 PM | Report abuse

When's Beamer, the ultimate Teflon Coach, going to be called out for the thugocracy he's built over the past two decades?

VT = Virginia Thugs

Posted by: MerlinTerps | February 26, 2011 5:14 PM | Report abuse

It's sad that MerlinTerps couldn't get into VT, and now he's got a chip on his shoulder as big as the Grand Canyon.

Otherwise, he'd be able to find something better to do with his time.

Get a life already, Merlin Terps.

Posted by: Benson | February 26, 2011 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Hope the VPI fans don't wear themselves out before the game, ya know?

Posted by: steven09 | February 26, 2011 7:19 PM | Report abuse

For the record, Terps fans have a lot of respect for Coach K. Nate James and Melvin (sp?) Delaney......not so much.

Posted by: steven09 | February 26, 2011 7:25 PM | Report abuse

lol.....@Benson.....Anybody can get into VPI. That's why their football program recruits so well!!! It's the FSU of the Mid-Atlantic! ;-) ;-)

Posted by: steven09 | February 26, 2011 7:28 PM | Report abuse

lol.....It's tougher to get into Towson or JMU than it is so get into VPI!!!!

Castrated funny. Did some UVa alumni come up with that mascot???

Posted by: steven09 | February 26, 2011 7:29 PM | Report abuse

WaPo report. 3,000 is packed but 15,000 is empty.

I guess it's all in how you look at it. Glass 1/4 full or glass 2/3 full.

Either way, Duke rolls. Respect to K.

Posted by: steven09 | February 26, 2011 8:03 PM | Report abuse


Is 9 your age or IQ?

Could be either. Or both.

Posted by: Benson | February 26, 2011 11:37 PM | Report abuse

lol.....Touche' Benson. Congrats on your win.

09 is sonny jurgensen's number.

Don't worry about my IQ. ;-)

Posted by: steven09 | February 28, 2011 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Some people should spend less time trashing other school's teams and focus more on their own team.

I know the Terps could have used more fans at their football games this past year.

Posted by: HokiesCapsSkins | March 1, 2011 4:47 PM | Report abuse

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