ESPN College GameDay rocks the Carrier Dome

Rece Davis, Jalen Rose, Digger Phelps and Jay Bilas pumped up a crowded SU student section eight and a half hours before the Orange take on Duke at 6:30 p.m.

If the Syracuse-Duke game Saturday night is the main course, than ESPN College GameDay was the appetizer. Hundreds fans packed the stands behind the GameDay desk, cheering and screaming with signs and banners, creating one of the loudest and entertaining atmospheres on ESPN's weekly college basketball morning show.

"I don't know how many people there were," Jay Bilas said after the show, "but there were a lot."

In front of a backdrop featuring a bevy of bigheads and witty signs, Digger Phelps, former long-time basketball coach at Notre Dame, began pumping up the crowd by leading multiple Syracuse chants.

"Tonight, you will be a part of history," Phelps said," when Syracuse takes down Duke and Dal upsets Arizona!" 

That immediately ignited the crowd into "Let's go Orange!" and "We're number one!" chants. Phelps led multiple other chants, but his favorite was easily the "Who's house? 'Cuuuuuuse house chant."

And this happened 50 minutes before the show even went on the air.

"It's really cool. We're honored to be here," GameDay anchor Rece Davis said after the show. "There was a lot of energy the minute we stepped on campus. Everybody's pretty ready for this game."

With only 30 seconds before the clock struck 10, the crowd buzzed with anticipation. And when the live light on the cameras flashed green, the crowded cheered like they were watching the final seconds in a tie ball game.

Syracuse celebrities came out to watch, and even be a part of, the GameDay experience. Newly appointed chancellor Kent Syverud watched courtside, even chatting it up with Phelps before the show, and SU legends Derrick Coleman and Billy Owens were also in attendance and spoke with GameDay's Davis in the middle of the show.

Each member of the GameDay crew also unveiled their all-class teams. Only two Orange players made the cut, as Jalen Rose picked Tyler Ennis as his top freshman point guard, and Phelps picked C.J. Fair as one of his top senior forwards. 

But the highlight of the show was a taped interview with SU and Duke coaches Jim Boeheim and Mike Krzyzewski. While the crowd booed any mention of sight of Duke, they remained quite during the interview with the top-two winningest coaches in college basketball history.

Finally, the crew made their picks for the big game. The Super Bowl, that is. Davis and Rose picked Seattle, while Phelps and Bilas picked Denver. But Rose, Phelps and Bilas all picked Syracuse to win, although Bilas wasn't too convinced with Syracuse, saying he thought Duke was ready to beat the Orange's coveted 2-3 zone.

"I think Duke does pretty well against the zone," he said. Because they can shoot it and they can penetrate gaps, they're pretty good off the dribble. That's really the key in playing that zone, is can you have a playmaker in the middle of it. 

I would favorite Syracuse because they're at home, but that's really the only reason. If this on a neutral court, I think I'd favor Duke."

In just a few hours, the Orange and the Blue Devils will put those predictions to the test, and hopefully satisfy the hungry college basketball fans around the nation.


Post new comment

* Field must be completed for your comment to appear on The NewsHouse
The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.