Fans converge on Columbus to support Spartans

“January, February, Izzo. Coach is going to have them ready.”
“January, February, Izzo. Coach is going to have them ready.”
Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 5:42 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WILX) - March Madness is officially underway as of 12:15 Thursday afternoon - and we’ve already seen one significant upset.

Michigan State is a #7 seed and doesn’t tip its tournament off until Friday afternoon. But that doesn’t mean it’s all quiet in Columbus.

The Spartans still took the floor Thursday in an open practice not only for their fans but fanbases from all across the country who are converging in Columbus for one of the sports’ greatest events.

“It’s always exciting,” says Erin Bratcher, an MSU fan in attendance with her family. “We’re both graduates from Michigan State and live down here now. So to be able to see them close down here is always amazing.”

Dan Naumann is a Marquette fan who made the trip.

“It’s close a lot of our fan base to come down and take a part of it rather than try to travel across the country,” Neumann said.

Lynn Snyder, a Purdue Fan, also took in Thursday’s practice.

“Purdue is number one, we are rooting for them,” she said. “Michigan State’s great too because they’re Big 10.”

Some fans planned ahead.

“I bought tickets a couple of months ago, just hoping to watch some basketball,” says Michigan State fan Mike Grimaldi. “Then you know, as soon as each team got announced bracket by bracket and came closer to the realization we could be playing here. It was just super excited and got grateful to at least watch one more game.”

“I mean, it’s perfect,” Bratcher said. “Especially with two young kids to be able to come and watch them and not have to stress about being here on game day. Even though we would love to but to be able to be here and be up close this great.”

Some fans are excited to see teams practice when they normally wouldn’t.

“It’s a great opportunity to see the different players in and just get a firsthand look at how their skills are set up,” Neumann says.

But for most wearing green in Columbus, it’s all about the Spartans.

“It’s important about that you see in Michigan State play but all these schools that have worked so hard throughout the course of the year. I’m just happy to be able to watch March Madness in person,” Grimaldi said. “January, February, Izzo. Coach is going to have them ready.”

There are certainly a lot of different fanbases in attendance – which is what makes the tournament so amazing.

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