ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas knows all about the intensity Maryland basketball fans bring. The former Duke Blue Devil experienced it first-hand when his team would travel to College Park for games inside Cole Field House.
The Xfinity Center replaced Cole Field House in 2002, just months after the Terps won the NCAA championship. But Bilas knows the short move across campus didn't take away any of the fanfare.
"This has always been a really passionate fan base. It is a difficult place to play, but it's a fun place to play," Bilas told reporters Friday. "If you've come here and play well and can withstand what you're going to be called and hear and all that stuff, you know you can handle [anything]."
Bilas and the rest of ESPN's "College GameDay" crew will be in College Park on Saturday for the show that broadcasts from 11 a.m. to noon in front of what's sure to be a spirited audience. The live show serves as the precursor for No. 9 Maryland's matchup with No. 24 Michigan State at 8 p.m.
Maryland has used its passionate home base to go 15-0 inside the Xfinity Center this season. Since the Terps joined the Big Ten conference in the 2014-15 season, they have gone 92-13 at home.
This is the second time in two weeks that GameDay features the Maryland vs. Michigan State matchup. The Terps traveled to East Lansing, Michigan, and beat the Spartans on Feb. 15 behind a 14-0 run, keyed by three consecutive 3-pointers from Anthony Cowan, to erase a late seven-point deficit for a 67-60 win.
College GameDay's appearance in College Park is the first since 2005, the first year of the show's existence. On that day 15 years ago, Maryland beat then-No. 7 Duke 99-92 in overtime.
"I've been telling everyone, [if] we bring College GameDay to College Park, it will be absolutely epic," ESPN commentator Seth Greenberg said in a Twitter video. "Because one thing about these Maryland fans, they are passionate about their Terps."
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