While the defeat of the mens basketball team by Arizona on Saturday was disappointing, MSU has a lot to be proud of.
MSU lost to the Wildcats 80-61 in the Spartans third-straight appearance in the Final Four, ending hopes for a repeat of last years NCAA Championship.
More than 2,000 people filled the streets surrounding Cedar Village after the game in a generally peaceful gathering. Police arrested a reported 30 people for minor charges such as indecent exposure and throwing bottles. A few small fires were reported throughout the city and campus.
Saturdays activities were a sharp contrast to the events following MSUs Final Four loss to Duke two years ago. The March 27-28, 1999, riot involved 10,000 people, resulted in 132 arrests and $250,000 in estimated damage.
Despite the disappointment of losing, the university has much to take pride in. The mens basketball team, while having exited the tournament earlier than most fans had hoped, is still among the top teams in the country. This accomplishment alone is something worth a great deal of recognition.
This loss is not the end of basketball supremacy for MSU. The team has many young, talented players and has a very good chance of going as far or further in the tournament next year. MSU has enjoyed years of basketball excellence and has many yet to come.
MSUs students and fans should also be congratulated for acting in a manner that is worth taking pride in. The riots were an embarrassment to the university and the team and further rioting would only serve to hurt MSUs reputation more. Saturdays reaction is more fitting to the image MSU should be putting forth.
Now that the university has seen what such an event can do to its reputation, students and fans have realized there are better ways to react to a loss. It is better to react in a calm manner and support the team regardless of outcome than to destroy property and act irresponsibly.
The increased police presence on and around campus Saturday is understandable. East Lansing, MSU, Lansing, Meridian Township, Ingham County Sheriffs Department and Michigan State Police officers patrolled the area. Six officers on horseback were working the Cedar Village area.
Considering past events, the number of police patrolling the area is reasonable. It is better to be more prepared than to be faced with a situation too big to control.
The MSU community will move on from this letdown, as it still has another team to cheer for. The MSU hockey team will play North Dakota in the Frozen Four on Thursday.
The basketball loss is upsetting, but the university and its supporters need not base its happiness on this game alone. The university has come a long way in two years to mend its reputation after the riots.
The way in which the team and its fans acted Saturday is commendable and something to be proud of with or without an NCAA Championship.