It’s a Sparty party in Detroit

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Detroit — Hundreds of Michigan State alumni and fans strutted to the Fillmore in green to get hyped up before the MSU versus Bucknell basketball game on Friday night at Little Caesars Arena.

Attendees waved their green-and-white pom-poms, took photos with Sparty and chanted with MSU cheerleaders in preparation for MSU’s first game in the NCAA tournament. MSU is celebrating 21 consecutive years in the NCAA tournament.

One of the pep rally organizers, Maggie Giggy, said they expected more than 600 attendees at the rally.

“We had an inkling it would be in Detroit, and we rushed and pulled everything together for an awesome party,” Giggy said.

Sydney, 24, and Aaron, 30, Lindel, from Birmingham, are rooting for Spartans to win it all. They said watching MSU basketball was something special they did with their father before he died in 2014.

“He was a Spartan alumn and showed the true meaning of fan passion ... he didn’t even play basketball, just made it something for us to watch together and now we watch for him,” Sydney Lindel said.

The MSU brass band played the fight song and got fans on their feet before heading over to the game at LCA.

Sonya Smith, an MSU alumna, brought her 18-year-old daughter, Sarah, an applicant to MSU this fall, to the pep rally to get her in the spirit. Smith said she was excited for Mile Bridges returning for his sophomore season.

“We’re so lucky to have Bridges back, and I gotta show her how to cheer go green, go white,” said Sonya Smith, 40, from Flushing.

Brian O’Reilly, from Birmingham, said MSU landed in the Final Four of his bracket but lost to Villanova. But he believes Duke is MSU’s biggest competition.

“If we’re fortunate enough to beat Duke, it’ll be smooth sailing with Bridges, and I’m really rooting for Tum Tum (Lourawls Nairn Jr.) because he’s a senior this year, and I want him to do well,” said O’Reilly, 44, an MSU alumnus. “It’s also extra special to celebrate this with St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow.”

The Michigan State Spartans take on Bucknell at 7:10 p.m.