East Lansing - Police were preparing for the worst after MSU's loss Monday night. Close to 300 officers from every local department filled downtown East Lansing and Cedar Village, the off campus housing complex where there have been riots in the past.
After the final score was announced, about 2,000 fans filled Cedar Street. They weren't there to riot, they were there to celebrate. Most of them chanted "Go green, Go White," for hours in the street. Cheerleaders did flips into the air and people wearing green face paint were sitting on their friends shoulders.
Authorities in East Lansing say 21 people were arrested in last night's gathering, adding there were no major problems. Four people were arrested for attempted arson. Police say a mattress and a couch were set on fire.
"I was hoping for better, thought we had a chance but from the beginning it didn't look good," said MSU student Alan Johnson.
"I think people are disappointed but as you can see out here, people are still having a good time," said MSU student Kristen Kohls.
By about 2 a.m. the crowd started to go home and police blocked any new people from entering the area.
EAST LANSING - From West Michigan to Detroit, "Sparty Fever" is sweeping the state. Thousands of people are gearing up for Monday night's big championship game.
Now everyone from police departments to fans have their game plans ready for the big day. They're hoping for the best and preparing of the worst.
The fans came out in East Lansing. More than 2,000 of them filled Cedar Village Apartments near campus after the Spartans victory on Saturday. It was the site of riots in the past, but there were no major problems this time.
"It was pretty crazy, there was a mash pit, balconies got torn down, but it wasn't as bad as last year with the violence, overall it was a good night," said MSU freshman Jamie Brahce.
But more than 200 officers lined up just in case. They arrested 60 people for minor offenses. People like 20 year old Chris Hodge of Grand Rapids. Fox 17 News caught up with him as he was getting released from lockup Sunday night.
"I was behind a house peeing and some swat team guy, i don't know who, handcuffed me," Hodge said.
Police say for the most part everyone acted responsibly. Students are hoping Monday night will be just as peaceful.
Meanwhile, fans are stocking up on merchandise for the big game.
Paint supplier "advanced Screen Products" in Grand Rapids is stirring up more than 100 gallons of paint already for National Championship t-shirts.
"Right after the game was over last night, we had four customers call me right off the bat asking to put orders in for ink for today," said Dave Hornbrook.
It they win or not, it doesn't matter. The shirts have to be ready to hit store shelves just in case Tuesday morning.
April 5, 2009
DETROIT (AP) - Michigan State has been itching for this do-over since December. Not only is the NCAA title at stake when the Spartans play North Carolina on Monday night, Michigan State will try to avenge that 35-point beatdown the Tar Heels laid on them four months ago. It was the most lopsided loss for Michigan State since 1996, Tom Izzo's first year as coach.
"We got embarrassed," Kalin Lucas said after the 98-63 loss in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, also played at Ford Field.
Oh, how things have changed.
The Spartans (31-6) are an inspired bunch these days, playing for their third national title and the pride of their downtrodden state.
"The whole country is going through an extremely difficult time period right now. ... Perhaps it's even a little more difficult for those people here. I appreciate that and understand what they're grabbing onto," North Carolina coach Roy Williams said. "I'm happy for them. I will not be as happy for them on Monday night."
Few places have been hit harder by the economic crisis than Michigan, Detroit in particular, and folks are desperate for something to rally around, even if only for a few hours. The Spartans have been happy to oblige, knocking off not one, but two No. 1 seeds to get to the NCAA title game.
Now comes another in North Carolina (33-4). It will be the fifth meeting between the Tar Heels and Spartans in the NCAA tournament, and North Carolina has won the first four. The Tar Heels are an early 7-point favorite.
"I hope we were a ray of sunshine, a distraction for them, a diversion, anything else we can be," Izzo said after the Spartans ran over Hasheem Thabeet and Connecticut in an 82-73 upset Saturday night. "We're not done yet."