Thursday, February 22, 2024

Izzone cheers for 'U'

May 13, 2004
The Izzone chants "You! You! You! You!" and points at a Purdue opponet after a foul was commited against MSU. —

There are grass skirts, a group of men with "green skin," green-and-white Afros, a chicken and egg and an assortment of scuba gear.

No, it's not Halloween. It's just another day in the Izzone.

The Izzone is the boisterous crowd that forms a semi-oval around the basketball floor at Breslin Center while either cheering on the Spartans or heckling the other team so badly that MSU head coach Tom Izzo aims a stern look in their direction. Either way, the Izzone is well-renowned around the college-basketball circuit as one of the best student sections.

ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas has seen many college basketball arenas in his day, including the time he played at Duke. He admits that East Lansing is one of the toughest places to play in the nation, and the Izzone is the reason.

"Whenever you combine a passionate following and a loud one with a good team, it's a tough atmosphere for opponents," Bilas said.

The Izzone boasts more than 900 members, and not only do they intimidate opposing teams, they ignite energy in the players.

Freshman guard Shannon Brown, who played in front of the student section for the first time this past season, said the Izzone gives him another incentive for playing well.

"They get you hyped," Brown said. "The cheering gets you going."

To get on MSU's side, this is what you'll have to do: Attend a lottery sign-up in September, where people can sign up in groups of four at the Student Alumni Foundation in the Union. A random drawing will select groups and some extra students.

Lottery winners receive information about an October campout. At the campout, students have to earn tickets by fulfilling a list of requirements, which include staying at the campout for the duration of the weekend and not having alcohol or any other illegal substances.

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