EAST LANSING, Mich. — Thursday morning at 7 a.m., the MSU band, cheer squad and Sparty himself embarked on their four-and-a-half-hour journey down to Nationwide Arena.
"There's 100 of us in the Spartan Brass Ensemble, but we take a travel band of just 30 members since it's a bit smaller of a space," senior Pelin Turan said.
For many students on the bus, this was their first trip to a game for March Madness.
"This is the reason I did band in college, to get the chance to go to a tournament like this," fifth-year Jad Bandit Safadi said.
"It's really cool to be able to travel with the team," sophomore Finn Gomez said. "We're all just kind of ready to go. We've all been waiting for this. The culmination of the whole season is March Madness."
For some, the trip is bittersweet.
"I mean I think this is just fun. It's kind of emotional for everybody I suppose," senior Gavin Moots said. " Especially winning and...you're only with this group once, obviously."
Above all else, it's extremely exciting.
"I never thought I'd get the opportunity to go to a tournament like this and I want to be there and hopefully it'll be a full stadium of MSU fans and we can get the place rocking and some good wins here," Safadi said.
"I'm really excited just for the experience. I love the hypeness of the games, especially when a good play happens and the audience—you can just feel the energy and I'm just excited for the experience, like the feeling of it," graduate student Ashton Jordon said.
Once they arrived in Columbus Thursday afternoon, the band, cheer squad and Sparty joined the Spartans' open practice to pump up and cheer them on.
Friday at 12:15 p.m., the Spartans will take on USC.
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