It took 107 years for the University of Kentucky men's basketball program to capture 2,000 wins, but fans needed only a matter of hours to set a record of their own Saturday.
UK fans filled Rupp Arena almost to capacity to cheer on ESPN's College GameDay. In the process, the 22,144 fans shattered the show's attendance record of 8,159, set two weeks ago at Kansas State University.
"We've never seen anything like this," GameDay host Rece Davis said. "This place is so special."
Doors opened at 8:30 a.m., and fans poured in. Many had camped out to get a prominent seat and potentially appear on the program, which aired on ESPN from 11 a.m. to noon.
Never miss a local story.
"It was totally worth it," said UK sophomore Kayla Hayden, who had begun camping outside the arena early Friday morning.
A roaring sea of blue flooded the stands in eager anticipation of the national spotlight. Many fans donned blue wigs and displayed signs.
One sign asked point guard John Wall to marry its creator, a woman wearing a wedding veil. Another sign said "11 is the new 23," referring to uniform numbers for Wall and NBA stars Michael Jordan and LeBron James.
Former UK coach Joe B. Hall said the show displayed Kentucky's love of basketball.
"It exposes the enthusiasm this state has for basketball," said Hall, who coached the Wildcats to a national championship in 1978. "It's a further statement that we're the winningest team in NCAA basketball. The fans drive us and we excite the fans."
ESPN's College GameDay first aired as a football program in 1987 and later expanded to basketball. Before every season, eight schools are selected as host sites.
Kentucky is no stranger to GameDay. The basketball team has hosted the show on two other occasions, and it has played against other hosts as the program's marquee game three other times. UK football was host to GameDay in 2007, when the Cats played Florida.
Before Saturday's show went live, GameDay analyst and former Notre Dame head coach Digger Phelps ignited the crowd by leading it in cheers and the fight song. Phelps even danced during one rendition of the song.
"This is the greatest GameDay ever," Phelps said.
When the program went live, the raucous crowd cheered whenever the crew spoke of UK and booed when the hosts mentioned Louisville, North Carolina, Duke or Tennessee. The crowd heckled when the analysts talked about former UK and current Louisville coach Rick Pitino.
Davis was impressed by the crowd's love and knowledge of UK basketball.
"It's part of them," he said. "They care."
The crowd was vocal throughout the show, but when Davis sat down for an interview with UK coach John Calipari, the arena fell silent.
"The guy could be the emperor of Kentucky," said Davis when asked about the arena-wide silence.
Shortly after the interview, a UK student took the program's half-court shot, worth $17,500 from sponsor State Farm if he made it. Although he missed, the crowd erupted as it resumed its loud roar.
The roar grew even louder when GameDay analyst Hubert Davis predicted that UK would beat Tennessee and then did the John Wall dance, which Wall made famous at Big Blue Madness last fall. Davis' rendition of the dance ended the show.
Rece Davis said he will never forget the record-breaking day at Rupp Arena.
"We were honored to come out," Davis said. "When I retire, I will remember this. It was extraordinarily gratifying."