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Thousands gather to welcome Spartans home

March 29, 2009

Senior guard Travis Walton stands holding the NCAA Midwest Regional Championship trophy at Breslin Center on Sunday night at a welcoming back celebration for the team after it beat Louisville to advance to the Final Four.

Throngs of fans pushed and shoved their way into Breslin Center on Sunday night hoping to catch a glimpse of the men’s basketball players back in town after a victory against Louisville.

As they were moving along, students and other visitors sang deafening versions of the MSU fight song, some even hoisted themselves on other’s shoulders to lead the crowd.

The MSU men’s basketball team returned to campus slightly before 10 p.m. and met ecstatic fans to celebrate what they hope will only be a march toward a championship as the men head to the NCAA Final Four at Ford Field in Detroit.

Sean Watkins, an international relations freshman, was not suprised by the Spartans’ win on Sunday.

“I always have faith in my team,” Watkins said.

Faith is playing a big role in helping the team succeed, said senior guard Travis Walton.

“If you wear this green and white, you believe,” he said, addressing a packed Breslin Center.

Izzo took the floor at about 10 p.m. and spoke to thousands of students and local fans. The audience watched with Izzo, his family and the team, as highlights from Sunday’s game were shown on the big screen. No one seemed to be suprised by the win, or doubtful of the team’s future success.

“Big East teams are so overrated,” said biochemistry junior Mahesh Chandrasekhar. “No one realizes how great MSU is.”

Izzo reassured fans that his players were focused on what lies ahead and ready to bring a national championship to MSU.

“Hopefully we’ll go to the Motor City and bring the national championship back,” Izzo said.

Calling MSU “the university in Michigan,” Izzo said his “far-fetched” dreams were coming true.

“This far exceeds anything I thought we could do here. It’s incredible,” Izzo said.

The players continued to stand in awe of the cheering crowd, still reveling in the win and taking in the moment.

“We’ll keep working hard,” said senior center Goran Suton. “Take it one game at a time and have fun with it.”

After Izzo left the floor at about 10:30 p.m., fans chanted back and forth, with Izzo and the team participating. Players took time to greet fans in the audience while Izzo recieved congratulations from others on the floor.

With a fresh win Sunday, marketing freshman Katie Bradley found a renewed hope in the team.

“We didn’t look like our normal Spartan selves on Friday, but we turned everything around,” Bradley said.

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