Whenever Kentucky comes to town, Vanderbilt’s Memorial Gymnasium expects a full house.
On Saturday, Commodore fans will get an early start to get amped up for the nation’s top team.
For the first time, ESPN’s College GameDay is planting its weekly show in the Southeastern Conference’s oldest arena. GameDay, in its eighth season of the basketball version, will host its two-hour morning show, beginning at 9 a.m. at Memorial. The crew will then return at 7 p.m. in advance of the 8 p.m. tip-off between No. 1 Kentucky (23-1, 9-0) and Vanderbilt (16-7, 5-3).
“I think it is a big thing,” Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said. “It is something that I think all programs want to do and want to have. This is our first experience with it and we’re excited about it. Hopefully, it is just a sign that our program has elevated itself over the course of time where the powers at be in that regard think enough of us to put GameDay here.”
Overnight camping is not allowed but students can begin lining up outside Memorial at 5 a.m. The live broadcast is free to the public with the doors opening at 7 a.m.
For students who want to get a leg up for the show and game, attending Thursday night’s women’s basketball game against Tennessee offers an opportunity. The first 1,000 students at the game will receive priority access to seating for GameDay and the Kentucky game.
The GameDay cast includes Rece Davis, Hubert Davis, Jay Bilas and Digger Phelps. The crew will interview Stallings that morning. Two selected Vanderbilt players will compete in “Know Your Teammate,” a spin-off of the popular show, The Newlywed Game.
Dan Shulman will handle the play-by-play duties with Dick Vitale providing color and Erin Andrews as the sideline reporter.