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'More than a game': Thousands of MSU students pack bars and restaurants to watch Sweet 16

The Statue of Sparty was also dressed in a basketball jersey before the game.

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Thousands of Michigan State students came out to watch their basketball team in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA's March Madness tournament at local bars and restaurants.

There were lines at some places that wrapped around the building.

It wasn’t the result MSU students and fans wanted to see as the Spartans fell short 96-93 against Kansas State, with many leaving disappointed in the outcome. 

However, some students say there was more to this game than just basketball.  

“It’s electric," says Michael Dufrense. "This is the place to be especially on a game day it’s so exciting. Man, it’s so much fun.” 

Dufrense and his friends spent nearly five hours at Crunchy’s Bar in East Lansing rooting for their favorite team.

“On gamedays especially people come from all over the state just to come to East Lansing to support the Spartans and it’s always just a fun time and it’s just… the support from everyone across the state, across the country, it’s second to none.” 

While there were high points throughout the night, ultimately the Spartans fell a bit short. 

Regardless, Spartans like Autumn Matt and Kyla DeSantis say that a month after the shooting on Campus last month, Michigan State’s appearance in the Sweet 16 was more than just a basketball game. 

“It’s extremely important," says Matt. "I know that Tom Izzo has been here for so long, he really takes it serious. I know it touched our hearts seeing him at the vigil.” 

And DeSantis says, "It’s just really exciting especially with all of the tragedy that everyone experienced, I think this is a really good way for everyone to get together and celebrate what it means to me a Spartan.” 

The Statue of Sparty was also dressed in a basketball jersey before the game started to also show support. 

Flowers are still being placed at the feet of the campus statue where hundreds paid their respects to the MSU shooting victims last month. 

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