Ed. note – Check out our Boom Goes the Dynamite post covering all of today’s big games until 6pm EDT tonight, when our on-site coverage of ESPN GameDay will continue.
After my first attempt at trying to live blog earlier this week during the Boston College-Wake Forest game, I decided to head down to Chapel Hill to to cover tomorrow’s season-opening ESPN GameDay game (Miami at UNC). All the big names (Dick Vitale, Bobby Knight, Erin Andrews, Digger Phelps, Jay Bilas, etc.) will be there so it should be a big night. RTC will be courtside to bring the action to you (if your big-screen HD wasn’t enough) along with answering whatever (appropriate) questions you may have for coaches, players, and TV personalities. I’ll have access to the media room, courtside reporters, post-game press conferences, and the locker rooms so if you have any questions, post them in the comment section throughout the day and I will try our best to get you the answers.
One early (random) note: I ran into some of the ESPN GameDay crew a few hours ago. It looks like most of them were support staff, but I did notice that Howie Schwab was there, who technically is support staff too. I guess might be considered a F-list celebrity after his now defunct TV show “Stump the Schwab”. Apparently Howie wasn’t sure how to get to his hotel (out of respect for their privacy I’ll avoid posting it online). Being a good Samaritan, I decided to help them out since they knew the name of the hotel and I had an iPhone. I offered to look it up for them on my iPhone, but was completely ignored because apparently the Schwab is above talking to the common folk. I guess Deadspin was right. (To be fair one of the other guys acknowledged my existence briefly then followed the Schwab.) Hopefully the other media members will be a little more receptive tomorrow night. Feel free to leave “Stump the Schwab” jokes in the comment section.
I’ll be back tomorrow morning with some more pictures and comments on the action around the GameDay scene. Be sure to check back at RTC throughout the day for our updates.
Morning Update: I’m about ready to head out of RTC’s Chapel HillHQ on Franklin Street to grab some breakfast and head over to the Dean Smith Center. A couple quick notes: It’s surprisingly cold here. So much for the great weather in the South. At least it’s better weather than what I would be in if I stayed in Boston.
That should make for a fun GameDay set. On a related note, I’m not sure if it was the unusually cold temperatures last night, but I was very disappointed by Franklin Street. I always hear so much about it on TV and the Internet. For a Friday night before an ESPN GameDay the place was surprisingly quiet. Not exactly party central by any means. I also stopped by the famous Top of the Hill last night at the corner of Franklin and Columbia last night. While the food was very good and most of the people here seem very nice, I have to make a comment to the girls sitting next to me last night while I was eating my dinner. If you’re out in public, you might want to tone down the conversation about hair removal techniques down there, needing to buy a battery for your “helper”, and discussing various types of devices that you use. This is especially true if you resemble a female Andy Reid. I was trying to enjoy my chili-seared tilapia and I didn’t need to hear about other fishy things (the tables were so close last night that they were basically touching). Also if you’re going to talk about that stuff LOUDLY, you can just go ahead and start discussing certain elements of the female anatomy without “whispering it” loudly enough for everybody else to hear and giggling about it.
Our next update will come from the GameDay set. I’ll be back in a bit. . .
– Inside the Dean Smith Center now and onto the wireless here after battling with my iPhone for a bit.
– The crowd is smaller than I expect. It looks like there are about 250 fans in here right now.
– GameDay is quite a production although I’m sure it is a lot smaller than it is for football since it is indoors.
– The crowd reacts as you would expect cheering for former Tar Heel Hubert Davis and booing former Blue Devil Jay Bilas. They also boo the 3 Miami fans who showed up for GameDay.
– They are about to have a half-court shot from some student named Bradley. $17,500 if he makes it. $1,000 if he doesn’t.
– Bilas just got punked by the UNC mascot.
– For a school that is supposedly fairly competitive to get into the GameDay signs are pretty weak.
– Bradley is about to attempt the half-court shot.
A couple of small things that some of you may enjoy before I go back to “downtown” Chapel Hill for a few hours.
– During the interview, Rece Davis asked Roy Williams about the team’s early season losses and then chided him for not having Hubert’s jersey hanging from the rafters yet.
– After the on-air show was done, ESPN tried to get the Tar Heel fans to get excited for a clip they are going to show at halftime. The result:
– To be fair to the UNC fans they did get some things right.
– I should be back around 7 or 8 PM unless I find something interesting or you have any comments/questions.
– Be sure to check out our all-day coverage of today’s big games in our Boom Goes the Dynamite post until I get back prior to tonight’s Miami @ UNC game.
– If anybody has any recommendations for sports bars to watch the afternoon’s games in Chapel Hill, let me know. I heard that Four Corners was good, but it’s closed for renovations right now.
And we’re back inside the Dean Smith Center. I’m currently in the media room and will be heading out to the court pretty soon. I talked with some security people earlier when I was here for GameDay and it looks like I’ll be behind the basket for this one.
Here are a couple pictures in front of the main entrance with the fans waiting for the doors to open.
Even though it was almost an hour and forty-five minutes before tip the fans were out with about 500 people in the “line” outside the main entrance.
A couple of quick notes before I leave the media room and head out to the court to figure out where I am sitting:
– I ran into Jay Bilas and Rece Davis after GameDay and they couldn’t have been nicer. Both guys took the time to talk to me even though it was pretty cold outside.
– The rosters for the game includes Eddie Rios, who was recently suspended indefinitely for the second time for “violating team rules”. Rios has only missed two games for his second indefinite suspension in a little over a month. Has Frank Haith really let him back after only two games?
Ok, now we’re going to start our live blog of the game, which should be on-air in about 15 minutes. We’re going to be doing this with CoverItLive.com technology. You can open up the link below or wait for rtmsf to post copied updates on the site. I’d recommend opening up the link since it will be easier to interact with me directly.
Thanks to everyone who participated in the chat. I’ll put up a post tomorrow with some of the pictures and answers to the questions that you asked. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to ask Frank Haith about his strategy regarding the defense or lack thereof on Wayne Ellington in the 2nd half due to some issues with the Miami Sports Information Director. Everyone at UNC was great and very easy to deal with outside of the girls at Top of the Hill sharing way too many details with the tables around them.