Spartans heading back to Spokane for NCAA tourney

Washington State University and the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena were selected to host the games that will take place on Thursday.

The fourth-seeded Spartans will play against No. 13 seed Delaware at 4:40 p.m. EST on Thursday.

The city will hold six games throughout two days with eight teams competing for the chance to advance to the Sweet 16.

Each team was scheduled to have one practice Wednesday in preparation for the four games set for Thursday. The winners of Thursday’s games will play on Saturday.

Izzone director Brandon Heins said he doesn’t expect many Spartans to make the trek to Washington just yet.

“The first two games people don’t really get excited about,” Heins said. “If we keep winning, people will go.”

This year’s matchups mark the eighth time that Washington State University and the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena have hosted the men’s or women’s NCAA Tournament since 2001.

The Spartans most recently played there four years ago in 2010, when MSU beat Maryland in dramatic fashion and went on to reach the Final Four.

Although many Spartans won’t be making the long trip to Washington, Heins said later in the month, they might organize an Izzone watch party, where fans and Izzone members will gather to eat and watch the tournament games together.

The wait-and-see feeling in terms of fandom resonates for human biology junior Lexie Georgoff.

Georgoff said people acted the same way last semester until the Rose Bowl came into play. She said her friends boasted that the experience they had at the Rose Bowl was the chance of a lifetime and she regrets not going.

Georgoff said earlier games don’t receive as much hype as the later-round games.

She said she’d really consider traveling to support the Spartans if they make it far in the tournament.

“I’d want to show my pride as a Spartan,” Georgoff said. “I’d at least want to be part of something bigger.”

Spartans fans back in East Lansing will be staying updated as the tournament progresses throughout the week in Washington.

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