College GameDay returns to Virginia

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- It's becoming an annual tradition at John Paul Jones Arena. For the fourth time in five years, ESPN's College GameDay was back at the University of Virginia.

It was an early morning or two at JPJ for many Virginia students.

"I'm very sleep deprived," said Virginia first-year Nick Anderson. "I got like seven hours of sleep last night, didn't go to bed tonight. Just been on the grind here."

"It's super fun to get everyone super excited about UVA basketball," said second-year Kathryn Williams. "Because we love it here. It's getting recognized on a nation-wide scale. It's super awesome."

All that to be at the fourth time the Cavaliers hosted ESPN's college basketball pregame show.

"This is my fourth GameDay," said Virginia graduate student Rachel Astorquiza. "So I've been here for all of them in the last five years. We love having it. It's a really fun experience for all the students."

"I wish I could bottle it and take it everywhere we go," said ESPN's GameDay host Rece Davis. "It's not that the other crowds aren't good, but there's just a genuine enthusiasm and excitement for showcasing their school and their team."

"It's so sweet," said Virginia first-year Ronak Rijhwani. "It's so hype, especially the half-court shot which we've made the last three times. I'm excited to be here."

The half-court shot has become a staple of the show and Virginia has been very successful. In three previous attempts, the Cavaliers were three-for-three. Gabriel Simmons was tasked with making it four-for-four.

On his fourth attempt, Simmons sank the shot from half court.

"It's amazing," Simmons said. "It's funny because, I was telling everyone that I was going to GameDay and yeah, whoever's going to shoot that halfcourt shot is going to have so much pressure on them. Three-for-three. That's hard to live up to. And then, it just went in."

With the make, Simmons received $19,000.

ESPN's Davis said Virginia is his favorite school to host GameDay at, saying he looks forward to the now annual visit every year.

"They make it tremendous," Davis said. "It's really, really a fun morning when we come here."

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