Spartan fans gather at The Fillmore to get ready for NCAA Tournament
DETROIT — In downtown Detroit, Spartan fans dominated the streets of Woodward Avenue.
They were representing their school colors, green and white, before the start of the men's basketball's first round game against No. 14 seed Bucknell at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit Friday night — an eventual 82-78 for the Spartans.
They were all gathering for the Spartan Pep Rally at The Fillmore, put on by MSU Alumni Association to bring alumni and fans together to celebrate the tournament.
MSU's Director of Alumni Engagement Pamela Jones said they picked The Fillmore for a variety of reasons. which include the location to the arena and the amount of Spartan fans they can hold.
“We love that it’s part of the historic part of Detroit — just like Michigan State has been here in Detroit working for a very long time,” Jones said. “It’s approximate to Little Caesars Arena and the ability to hold a large crowd. We knew there would be a lot of Spartans in town for this event.”
For alumna Vickie Malcolm, who's a graduate of the class of 1981, she could not think of a better venue other than LCA and celebrate the game a block away.
“We couldn’t of asked for more,” Malcolm said. "We’re from Ann Arbor, we’re Spartans and we’re right here in the city of Detroit. They’re doing a great job of hosting us. Very glad to be here.”
During the pep rally, fans enjoyed food, drinks and had the chance to buy more Spartan gear from hats to T-shirts.
Malcolm and her friend Kim Hinton, graduate of the class of 1994, came into the city for the pep rally from Ann Arbor to celebrate their team together. For Hinton, working in Detroit and seeing her favorite team will heighten the city.
“It’s great,” MSU 1994 grad Kim Hinton said. “I’m so glad they have it in Detroit. I work in the city and it’s be so great for the city and the state of Michigan and it’s so great for MSU.”
Fans were able to enjoy live music playing a variety of musics to bring in all their alumni to join in on the dance floor with “Go Green, Go White” chants filling the atmosphere.
Along with alumni, fans joined with the brass section of the marching band and the Spartan cheerleaders in the singing of the fight song and MSU shadows along with other notable MSU cheers.
“It’s been really great,” said Adam Merril, class of 2010 graduate. "Really positive people with a lot of them being alumni. It was great to have the pep band around and really get things going. A lot of great energy. I’m really excited to see a full house at Little Caesars Arena. ”
Fans came in from all parts of Michigan and others even flew in to see their team play in Detroit.
For class of 1987 grad Matt Cidor, he joined his brother Greg and friends for the rally. Cidor said even if he wasn't an alum, he would still choose Tom Izzo and the Spartans over any team in the tournament. And seeing them in Detroit in like no other.
“It’s awesome,” Cidor said. “If we can support the team and give them the home vibe and get them going and get them going all the way. I think if I was just an arbitrary fan and I wasn’t an alumnus I probably still pick them because I think they have all the right ingredients.”
If the Spartans make it past the first round, the Alumni Association will not host the pep rally again Sunday. Fans are encouraged to go to the Detroit Spartan Facebook page to look for game watch parties they plan to hold at local bars.