More than 100 University of Florida students woke up early Friday morning and dressed in orange and blue for an appearance on NBC’s “Today” show.
Students gathered in front of the Stephen C. O’Connell Center to show off their school spirit in anticipation of Friday night’s Sweet Sixteen men’s basketball match-up between the Florida Gators and the Florida Gulf Coast University Eagles.
Students arrived as early as 6 a.m. with posters and shakers, and by 7 a.m. they were live on the “Today” show cheering as the Gator Pep Band played.
UF cheerleaders, Dazzlers and Gatorettes were also in the crowd, along with the UF mascots, Albert and Alberta.
At about 7:20 a.m., the “Today” show featured UF students for a second time. In between each shot, students kept up the cheering with, “It’s great to be a Florida Gator.”
Students also chanted, “Hey! Hey, you. You know what to do. You gotta roll with the orange and jam with the blue.”
Students held up signs made for the occasion like, “Dunk City ain’t got nothing on Title Town,” “Florida is Going to Chomp U” and “UF loves Today.”
The same “Today” show segment also featured students from FGCU cheering on their team.
UF student Adam Janik cheered with fellow students throughout the morning.
“I think Florida Gulf Coast is going to come out with a lot of energy and intensity,” Janik said. “You know, they’re pretty psyched to play us, but I think our guys are experienced, and Billy Donovan will get them in order and we’ll come out. I’d say double digits at the end.”
Christian Pierre-Canel agreed UF will win the game tonight. “I feel like we’re going to show that our experience, our talent and our strengths will prevail.”
UF plays FGCU tonight in the NCAA tournament at 9:57 p.m. at the Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.