Many members of the “UM Maize Rage” may not have been happy that they saw nothing but advertisements on the jumbotron in the Crisler Center just a half hour before game time. Or that directly after tip-off the Wolverines were looking like they were going to be ran out of the gym. But something clicked after Michigan State Head Coach Tom Izzo took out a key Spartan in Keith Appling.
Michigan, almost on cue, went on an 8-0 run to cut the Spartan lead to 22-19. Spike, Zak Irvin and Caris LeVert were the Michigan players that started the comeback. It wasn’t until Zak Irvin’s first dunk of the year that the Crisler Center woke up, but when it did, it nearly took the roof off.
Michigan and Michigan State went back and forth from that point on until half time when LeVert hit a big three with 1.0 seconds left in the half , and eventually time ran out. LeVert was already headed to the locker room as the shot was coming down, and the crowd was in a frenzy as he left.
At the time, MSU had only a 34-32 lead at the half, in a game that could have been over early. I credit the basketball team for making a nice comeback, but not all of it goes on them. A crowd like that, in a big game, sends adrenaline through everyone’s veins, especially the team’s.
As the crowd came alive, Stauskas and LeVert did too. Stauskas had a big second half, scoring majority of his 25 points. He hit big shots, and LeVert was no consolation prize, adding 23 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists.
The energy was like no crowd Michigan has seen before. And that is a good thing. The more into it the fans are, the better chances you have in the game. Having a raucous crowd and student section makes teams circle you on the schedule, sometimes as motivation, sometimes in intimidation.
Not only did the basketball team benefit from the crowd, but it served as a great selling point for the football team. Crisler was littered with football recruits, and the game may have let the recruits know how much fun it could be to play football in Ann Arbor, especially when the environment and atmosphere is equal of greater during football season.
(Above: Damien Harris’s, and the other recruits, view of Sunday’s 79-70 Michigan victory over MSU. Photo Credit to Damien Harris.)
It was fun to watch kids jumping around in a sea of maize chanting, screaming, and almost being responsible for a building collapsing. It was one of those games that you knew if the crowd was into it, UM’s chances were huge. With about 7:00 remaining in the game, there was a feeling that it was all but wrapped up.
Stauskas connected with Glenn Robinson III on an alley-oop, and you could see the students going as crazy as a 13 year-old at a Justin Beiber concert. Students were jumping, hugging and yelling as loud as possible, and you could tell they were having fun. You could watch that here: (credit to gifdsports)
Michigan needs more games like this, and more crowds like today’s if they want to secure the Big Ten Title, and for future teams to continue success. The Maize Rage was huge in today’s victory, and a lot should be credited to them. Michigan beat a good team, and a great coach in Michigan State and Tom Izzo on the court, but it was nice for them to have a little something extra up their sleeve.