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Running blog from ESPN College GameDay

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Video: Digger Phelps cuts a rug; interviews with Phelps, Rece Davis and Jay Bilas; ESPN College GameDay live from Rupp Arena 

A record crowd of 22,144 fans showed up to Rupp Arena on Saturday for ESPN's College GameDay, shattering the previous mark of 8,159 set at Kansas State two weeks ago.  

10:25 a.m. -- Good morning, Wildcat fans. I just took my seat here at Rupp Arena for ESPN's College GameDay. I'll have some updates periodically from Rupp Arena to provide a scene for those of you who were unable to make it to today's event. We're still more than 30 minutes away from the live broadcast but this place is already rocking. Digger Phelps has been uring on the crowd to get into it and they've responded by drowning him out with "Go Big Blue!" chants. I don't know if the place is going to completely fill up, but it's definitely going to be a GameDay attendance record.

10:31 a.m. -- If you haven't heard, Digger Phelps is quite the dancer. The former Notre Dame coach and current GameDay analyst just cut a rug with some of the UK dance team members. It was ... well, interesting to say the least. I'll get a YouTube video up later on.

10:39 a.m. -- A ton of former players are in attendance at Rupp Arena. So far I've seen Jodie Meeks, Derek Anderson, Chuck Hayes, Ron Mercer, Richie Farmer and Jack "The Goose" Givens. No team and fan base knows a big game quite like the Kentucky Wildcats.

10:43 a.m. -- Crowd favorite Erin Andrews has been formally introduced to the crowd at Rupp. It goes without saying, she got a warm welcoming.

10:46 a.m. -- When I walked into Rupp About 45 minutes ago, I just happened to walk in the same time as the lone Tennessee fan in attendance. He was promptly booed by the ENTIRE arena.

10:49 a.m. -- Best thing I've seen yet: life-size cutouts of UK President Lee Todd, his wife, Patsy Todd, and former UK player Jodie Meeks. Hilarious! You should see them behind the GameDay crew in about 10 minutes for the live broadcast.

10:51 a.m. -- Well, I don't know if this can top the cutouts, but I was told someone in the arena was donning a wedding dress with a sign that asked for either John Wall or DeMarcus Cousins to marry her.

wideshot.jpg11:01 a.m. -- We're live from a near packed house at Rupp Arena. I'd say it's about 90-95 percent full, easily the most the GameDay crew has ever seen. The analysts are doing their opening bit right now. I wish I could tell you what they were saying, but the crowd is so loud here at Rupp that I can't hear a thing.

11:07 a.m. -- A must-see video from ESPN College GameDay analyst Digger Phelps dancing with the UK dance team. 

11:14 a.m. -- After you've been at this place so long (Kentucky, I mean), it's hard to get amazed. However, the UK faithful has once again stunned me. I expected this place to be about 60 percent full, but it's now near capacity. And boy are the fans loud. I have no clue what the analysts are saying because the crowd quickly drowns them out with cheers everytime they talk. It's just an unbelievable atmosphere. One of the few things I've heard so far that sums up the experience came from analyst Hubert Davis: "I went to North Carolina, but nobody does it like Kentucky." Isn't that the truth. 

11:19 a.m. -- Former Kentucky coach and current Louisville coach Rick Pitino's face just showed up on the broadcast. Let's just it wasn't appreciated by the fan base at Rupp. Boos rained down from every corner of the arena. They quieted down a bit when the zoomed in on his retired jersey in the rafters.

11:25 a.m. -- Head coach John Calipari just showed up to Rupp Arena to a roaring ovation. Easily the loudest cheer we've had all day. I believe he's about to be on for a short segment. Sounds like they're about to do a decibel meter test for tonight's game. Should be the loudest roar yet.  

11:32 a.m. -- They're showing video of the John Wall dance on TV along with some clips of fans doing it. Very funny. Interesting to hear Jay Bilas and Digger Phelps tell us yesterday that they had no clue what the John Wall dance was. Well, they do now. Calipari said that if they win the national championship, they'll all be doing the John Wall dance. Even Digger and Jay? We'll see.

11:36 a.m. -- Calipari is speaking with host Rece Davis at the moment. The first time the crowd goes quiet all day. Calipari, UK's greatest ambassador, gave a great shout out to the women's basketball team, prompting the cameras to switch over to the women's team. Great idea from Calipari. Even better exposure for a very good women's basketball team.

11:45 a.m. -- Video of Rupp Arena erupting as College GameDay goes live.

11:48 a.m. -- I'm not sure if all the players are here or not, but I do see Josh Harrellson, Ramon Harris and Mark Krebs courtside. As Calipari walked off the floor, he came over and gave everyone a high five and a handshake, including former player Jodie Meeks.

11:52 a.m. -- More Tennessee fans. More boos.

GameDay18.JPG11:55 a.m. -- A student just took the StateFarm half-court challenge. He missed the shot a few feet to the left, but he'll still get a $1,000 for his efforts. Had he hit it, he would have been given $17,500. Waiting on the analysts to pick who wins tonight.

11:59 a.m. -- Hubert Davis saved the best for last. As the show was going off the air and Rece Davis asked who was going to win tonight's game, Hubert Davis quickly stood up and started doing the John Wall dance, much to the delight of the 20,000-plus fans in attendance. Jay Bilas briefly did a rendition as well. Let me remind you that Hubert Davis is a North Carolina alum and Jay Bilas is a Duke alum. The crowd is still eating it up.

12:02 p.m. -- That's a wrap for the show. The crowd at Rupp gave a standing ovation as the cameras turned off. Again, just an amazing atmosphere for today's shows. The GameDay crowd congratulated the fans for a historic crowd. Digger Phelps said it was "the greatest day ever at College GameDay." I couldn't have said it better myself.

12:11 p.m. -- There's about to be a presentation of some sort on the floor. I'll have more on that in a bit, but I'm about to head downstairs to the media room now in hopes of getting a couple of video interviews with the GameDay crew. Wish me luck.

12:16 p.m. -- Looks like I'm staying for a few minutes more. Calipari, former players and UK President Lee Todd are on the court to launch the President's Scholarship Initiative. Calipari said he and his wife, Ellen, are donating $25,000 in scholarship money. Todd and several others are donating money as well. Fans wishing to contribute $5 can text "BLUE" to 50555. Former coaches and players are being introduced to the crowd now: Jack Givens, Kyle Macy, Joe B. Hall, Kenny Walker, Richie Farmer, Jared Prickett, Tony Delk, Derek Anderson, Cameron Mills, Scott Padgett, Wayne Turner, Chuck Hayes and Jodie Meeks. Now I'm headed down.

1:17 p.m. -- The ESPN College GameDay crowd at Rupp Arena was 22,144, nearly triple the previous high, which was 8,159 at Kansas State.

1:23 p.m. -- Photo Gallery

1:59 p.m. -- Video interviews with Rece Davis, Jay Bilas and Digger Phelps is now on the Web. And with that, I'm taking a break. Don't forget, live blog tonight for the UK-Tennessee game. 

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8 Comments

Thanks so much for taking the time to keep this blog. I am in Raleigh, NC supporting the Big Blue from afar, and enjoy any updates on UK.

Thanks for the minute be minute info!
It was great!! On my way to Lexington, so was
unable to watch it! Thanks!

that was my sister that was in the wedding dress and everybody wanted her picture and she wanted john wall to marry her i cant believe it made it on here!!!

I was the girl in the wedding dress with a sign that read John Wall will you marry me? I also wore UK blue knee-high socks & white Chucks! Thanks for putting that up there! :) GO BIG BLUE!

ABBIE,
TOYOTA RACING IS HAVING A CONTEST TO DESIGN A RACE CAR. I WOULD LIKE TO SUBMIT ONE WITH YOU ON THE HOOD. IT'S A GAME DAY INSPIRED CAR. PLEASE LET ME KNOW. THANKS

Yes, that would be great! Thanks!

Abbie
I have ir on toyota racing web site now. Go on there and check it out and vote for it if you like it. Its called uk game day.

Okay, I will! Thank you(:

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  • Abbie: Okay, I will! Thank you(: read more
  • Lori Lancaster: Abbie I have ir on toyota racing web site now. Go on there and check it out and vote for read more
  • Abbie: Yes, that would be great! Thanks! read more
  • LORI LANCASTER: ABBIE, TOYOTA RACING IS HAVING A CONTEST TO DESIGN A RACE CAR. I WOULD LIKE TO SUBMIT ONE WITH YOU read more
  • Abbie: I was the girl in the wedding dress with a sign that read John Wall will you marry me? I read more
  • andy: that was my sister that was in the wedding dress and everybody wanted her picture and she wanted john wall read more
  • 77Sheila: Thanks for the minute be minute info! It was great!! On my way to Lexington, so was unable to watch read more
  • Dave Wright: Thanks so much for taking the time to keep this blog. I am in Raleigh, NC supporting the Big Blue read more