On Jan. 19, College GameDay made its way to Hinkle Fieldhouse for the matchup between the Gonzaga and the Butler Bulldogs.
Before Saturday’s game, Dawg Pound member Ari Kasle was asked what expectations he had for the contest.
“I think any time Butler is on the court, magic things happen,” he said.
This pregame prediction was spot on.
With 3.5 seconds to go in the game, 63-62 Gonzaga, chances of a Butler victory were slipping away.
The Gonzaga in-bounds pass was stolen by sophomore guard Roosevelt Jones, and before the clock hit zero, he put up a floater and a prayer.
After the shot went in and students rushed the floor, the overall experience of College GameDay was complete.
Butler’s victory was the icing on the cake for the entire GameDay experience.
The day started with students lining up outside Hinkle before 6 am.
Students waited in the cold for the chance to be a part of a prestigious basketball tradition and to be seen by the entire nation on ESPN.
Once the doors opened, people rushed into Hinkle.
Before the GameDay broadcast, ESPN analyst Digger Phelps gave a pre-game pep talk to get the crowd excited for the show. ESPN’s presence created an atmosphere of excitement and anticipation in for students and fans in Hinkle.
During the broadcast, ESPN continually involved the crowd. ESPN utilized students as backgrounds for the interviews of both coach Brad Stevens and senior guard Rotnei Clarke.
Throughout the broadcast, ESPN frequently panned sections of the crowd to include all of the students and make their efforts worthwhile.
In return, students and fans showed their appreciation for the game.
Freshman Mike Schau said College GameDay was a “once in a lifetime experience and probably the biggest game I’ve been to at Hinkle in my life.”
As the GameDay show was winding down, junior Kevin Schwartz was selected to shoot a half-court shot, worth $18,000 if he made it.
Schwartz was successful on his first attempt and received his check.
He broke ESPN’s streak of 32 failed attempts. It was the first made half-court shot on College GameDay in four years.
While he was excited about making the shot, Schwartz said he was more eager for Butler’s upcoming game.
“This is one of the biggest games we’ve ever had at Butler, especially in my last two and a half years,” Schwartz said. “To see the whole school rally behind this team is pretty incredible.”
Not only was GameDay an experience for sports fanatics to check off their bucket list, it was also what charged the sixth man of Butler basketball to push the Bulldogs to a magical victory.