Tennessee fans show Jay Bilas, Joe Milton they know how to jeer, cheer on 'College GameDay'
Jay Bilas made an unforgivable mistake prior to ESPN’s “College GameDay” morning start time at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Hours before No. 4 Tennessee (17-3) played No. 10 Texas (17-3) on Saturday in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge, the ESPN analyst learned he wore the wrong-colored shoes.
The rabid Tennessee fan section told him the sneakers he proudly showed off were the incorrect shade of orange, donning the burnt orange of Texas rather than the Tennessee orange.
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That mistake was eventually forgiven after Bilas along with fellow analysts LaPhonso Ellis and Seth Greenberg ended the show by all selecting Tennessee to beat Texas. After the picks, a resounding roar and the playing of “Rocky Top” by the school band flooded Thompson-Boiling Arena.
For the second time in three days, ESPN’s “College GameDay” paid Thompson-Boling Arena a visit. The show was here Thursday an hour before the Lady Vols game against UConn.
If the vitriol Bilas received for getting his oranges confused says anything about Tennessee fans, it is that they will never disappoint when “College Gameday” is in Knoxville.
The crowd erupted every opportunity it could when Tennessee's name was beckoned and booed when a rival was mentioned.
Many of the signs within the fan section targeted the University of Texas, such as “Horns down” and “We are the real UT.”
The men's team came out during the show to display its "one fly, we all fly" pregame dunk ritual, providing the fans excitement with a D.J. Jefferson windmill dunk surrounded by his leaping teammates.
Even Tennessee football quarterback Joe Milton got in on the fun, showcasing his strong arm by firing half-court shots. He launched one basketball in his football-throwing motion that sailed over the basket and about 20 rows into seating, wowing the fans and on-air crew who witnessed it.
Before all the analysts chose the Vols to beat the Longhorns in their predictions, Bilas explained the importance of tonight’s game.
“What’s at stake in Texas, Tennessee is a No. 1 seed,” Bilas said. “The committee room at the end of the year, they’re going to look at this game as a separating factor because both Texas and Tennessee are right there. If it ended today, Tennessee would be a No. 1 seed and Texas would probably be a 2-seed."
Greenberg who made his favor for Alabama's basketball team clear conceded that the Vols possess attributes that are emblematic of championship teams.
“When you look at this Tennessee team, they can beat you in transition, they beat you in the half court, they beat you with their defense, they beat you with their depth," Greenberg said. “Most importantly, you look at the DNA of teams that win championships, they have maturity, and this team is a mature, experienced team.”
In the show’s “GameDay Grab Bag” segment, the analysts answered random questions related to SEC and Big 12 basketball. Ellis was asked which player in the SEC or Big 12 deserves more respect. His answer: Tennessee's Santiago Vescovi.
“Shooter, lefty, he doesn’t get enough love on the national scale,” Ellis said.
This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: Vols fans give Jay Bilas jeers, Joe Milton cheers on 'College GameDay'