Spartan Fans Need to Be Elite

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It isn’t a secret. It grinds or fires up Tom Izzo every time he steps foot on the court at MSU. I am talking about the crowds at the Breslin Center.

 

Empty seats like the ones seen here against Iowa earlier this year, certainly add to the frustration level of Izzo.  Photo courtesy of Mark Boomgaard.

Empty seats like the ones seen here against Iowa earlier this year, certainly add to the frustration level of Izzo. Photo courtesy of Mark Boomgaard.

I cringe when he mentions it, not because I disagree, it is because the reaction I get with any story about it as it sends a flood of email ripping coach Izzo. That’s right, ripping Izzo. He is demanding of himself and his players and now with what he has called “The toughest stretch of games in MSU history” the subject is back on the front burner.

 

I sat in Madison and Champaign where everyone other than MSU fans had on red or orange. Forget their student sections, all of their other sections (what MSU fans call the green seats) stand and cheer just as loud. The last two arenas that MSU has played in make the Breslin look like and sound like a library.

 

The lower bowl Izzone has done a great job this season. I can tell you that the Upper Izzone rarely stands for long periods of time and those are seats MSU could sell for a regular price. Something at least one MSU official has mentioned to me. That is a story for another day.

 

It is the normal seats (non-Izzone) that aren’t standing, aren’t feverishly cheering and creating the elite environment that it once was. MSU fans are spoiled. Don’t believe me? Look at three emails I got after this was mentioned earlier in the year.

 

Hondo

What has this team done to warrant me standing and cheering the entire game? I pay for my PSL and my tickets. Izzo needs to stop B******* and worry about turnovers.

Kyle

 

Hondo

Why rip the fans? What have we done except pay the outrageous prices and tolerated being stuck with exhibition games and on top of all that we donated?

Missy

 

Hondo

Let’s cut at the fans? Are you kidding me? They have turned on us with reseating and forget their loyalty to us. When they care and think of us as more than money, I will act more like a fan than an observer at a movie.

David

 

This is a touch subject, but for the person close to the situation it isn’t. The last two arenas the Spartans stepped foot in rocked from the beginning to the end. They were loud and they were difference makers, something the Breslin used to be.

 

Watch tonight with a “White out.” At Illinois and Wisconsin their fans dressed in unity with one color. Orange and Red. Everyone. The Izzone will be in white, but what percentage of the crowd? How often will the lower bowl Izzone have to spend time cheering at the green seats at a critical venture of the game to “Stand up?”

Izzo was asked this week and whether or not you like it, spoke his mind. “Our place has to be like the past two we’ve been at. They have to jack their game up like we have to…there is no question Michigan State had the toughest place to play for several years and it isn’t now...There is no question that Michigan State had the toughest place to play in for a lot of years…There’s no question it’s not at that level right now, but our team hasn’t been at that level the last two games either, so I’ve got my own job to do…but I always urge and say that we don’t win games just because of our team.”

 

There are two things I love about Izzo. One is that he speaks his mind. He doesn’t disrespect the fans or the media with coach talk, and secondly, he demands out of others what he demands out of himself and his team.

 

If a media person works hard, actually attends everything and has a take, he can live with it. If they are lazy and don’t go to everything he gets mad with dumb articles or opinions just to hear themselves. Trust me, we hear it when he is frustrated with the media. He isn’t asking the fans to do anything other than what this place used to do and to make it an elite place for opponents to play.

 

There have been empty seats every game this year. Will there be some tonight? I would expect there to be. Izzo said it best when he acknowledged there would be snow tonight. He can’t control that. A nine o’clock game on a Tuesday, he can’t control that, but what can be controlled is by the fans. Fans of this program demand excellence. They demand Final Fours. These are things that Izzo does also and they are totally fine. Tonight they need to look in the mirror and demand something of themselves: fanaticism.

 

I expect Kalin to play, but limited minutes. This team can’t win without the crowd. It’s time for the fans to give what they expect and if they do, the Spartans will win tonight. Tonight the crowd can do what a recovering Kalin can’t and a team with a Big Ten Title in their sites needs, WILL THIS TEAM to victory.

 

Tonight Spartan basketball and its fans need to be elite.