On April 6, Michigan State opened the doors of Munn Ice Arena in order to host their official Final Four watch party. Dedicated fans of all ages were in the audience as the Spartans faced the Texas Tech Red Rangers.
“I always heard about Munn when I was a student here in 1951 and ‘52,” Connie Rimey, 85, said about the chance to watch the game in the arena. “It’s special.”
Rimey was watching alongside her daughter, who went to MSU, as well as her graduating granddaughter.
Fan favorite and senior guard Matt McQuaid had 37 minutes and 12 points in the losing effort.
“Matt McQuaid,” Titus Rupert, age 11, said when asked who his favorite player was. “(Because he did) the windmill thing,” in reference to McQuaid’s noteworthy dunks throughout his time as a Spartan. “I get to listen to all of these people screaming for the second time.”
The arena roared when MSU scored on back-to-back three pointers from Matt McQuaid and Aaron Henry early in the first half.
“I’m here with my family and I’m having a great time,” Maxamus Rupert, age 9, said while eating a soft pretzel with a grin on his face. Rupert's younger sister, 3-year-old Aurelia, was also present and cheering for the Spartans.
The Spartans struggled throughout the game for baskets to fall averaging 30.77 percent from the field and beyond the arch in the first half.
“I think they’re starting out pretty strong,” agriculture business junior Will Hern said during the first timeout of the game when the Spartans were down 8-6. "(They’re) bringing the heat and keep it coming the whole game.”
During the last time-out of the first half, fans were still in good spirits with the Spartans down 21-18.
“It’s great to be back on campus,” John Moore, MSU Class of 1987 said. “I’m just happy to be here with all of the students and looking forward to a great finish.”
The Spartans entered halftime trailing 23-21, but the fans know the Spartans are a second-half team.
“Defense, defense, defense,” hospitality and business junior Alexa Avendt said about what the Spartans needed to improve on in the second half.
Two year Izzone members mechanical engineering sophomores Sarah Nold and Marissa DePolo were optimistic.
“We need to take better care of the ball,” DePolo said about the Spartans 11 turnovers for the game. “We have to try to get it down to Nick Ward or Kenny (Goins) cause we haven’t done that yet.”
The Spartans struggled to get points in the paint in the first-half, finishing with 15 for the game.
“We’re always better when we have a little bit of a deficit in the beginning,” Nold said about the Spartans’ mentality in the second-half.
The fans in the arena were on an emotional roller coaster during the second half, making the atmosphere electric when the Spartans had a small spurt in the last five minutes of the game.
The majority of the crowd left while the last 30 seconds ticked off while a few loyal fans stayed for the ending.
“I think it went good,” Residential College of the Arts and Humanities freshman Maricela Tapia said about the season. “I think they worked really hard to get here and it seems like we always get to the Final Four.”
While reminiscing about the successful season the Spartans have had, one of the most memorable games of the season was the 68-67 defeat of Duke in the Elite Eight on March 31.
“The Duke game,” DePolo said was her favorite moment of the season. “Kenny’s shot, oh my God!”
The Spartans ended with a 32-7 record while bringing Tom Izzo to his eighth Final Four in his 24 year tenure. MSU defeated in-state rival Michigan three times, one for the title of Big Ten Tournament Champions as well as claiming a share of the regular season Champions.