Roughly five months ago, ESPN’s College Gameday graced the Michigan campus with its presence and played host to one of the most exciting games ever witnessed at the Big House. It was the first night game in the stadium’s history, and Notre Dame was the selected opponent for first-year head coach Brady Hoke’s first big test.
The Maize and Blue lived up to the hype, topping the Golden Domers, 35-31, thanks to a last-minute touchdown pass by star quarterback Denard Robinson.
Gameday returns to Ann Arbor this Saturday, as the Wolverines (19-7, 9-4 Big Ten) welcome rival Ohio State (22-4, 10-3 Big Ten) for a key matchup on the hardwood. Doors will open at 7:30 a.m., with the show kicking off live at 10 a.m. Saturday will mark the first time that the Michigan basketball program is hosting the program. And if last year’s matchup with Notre Dame is any indication, the presence of Gameday bodes well for the Wolverines.
Crisler Arena will be rocking for Rece Davis, Jay Bilas, Digger Phelps, Hubert Davis and Bob Knight as they preview the weekend’s slate of games and, more importantly, gauge the energy and passion of the many Wolverine faithful expected to be in attendance. The football team is no stranger to this kind of media attention, but for their basketball counterparts on campus, Saturday’s pre-game ceremonies will represent a coming out party, of sorts.
Gameday has traveled to the Great Lakes state for basketball before. East Lansing has served as the show’s stopping ground two times, and deservedly so, as Michigan State has been the basketball superior in the state in recent years.
The fact that the Gameday Crew is making its first basketball-related appearance at Ann Arbor is a sign that the Wolverines, under coach John Beilein, are taking the necessary steps to buck that trend. Coach Tom Izzo’s pristine record of success is impressive, but the Wolverines are striving to ensure that the Spartans aren’t the only Michigan school making headlines in basketball.
While this game may not produce the same hype as the aforementioned showdown against Notre Dame, it’s importance cannot be understated: with a win, Michigan moves into a tie with the Buckeyes and just a half-game back of conference leader MSU.
Gameday brought the Wolverines a much-needed victory at the Big House over a rival five months ago; now can it give them a victory against the rival–the much-hated nemesis that is “Ohio”– on the hardwood this Saturday?
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