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Posted on Sun, Apr 7, 2013 : 12:24 a.m.

Fan celebrations spill into the streets after Michigan advances to national championship

By Kyle Austin

They stood, arms locked, beers in hands, waiting for one last play before the jubilation could begin.

And when Syracuse missed a late shot and Michigan gained possession as the time ran out, the nervous waiting erupted into cheers, chants and songs.

The Michigan basketball team topped Syracuse, 61-56, Saturday night in Atlanta, to advance to the national championship game Monday night against Louisville.

Seven hundred miles away, back on campus, the scene was jubilant as the Wolverines accomplished something not done in 20 years. At the corner of South University Avenue and Church Street, fans streamed out of Good Time Charley’s, the Brown Jug, and other bars to take the celebration to the streets. A crowd of fans gathered to celebrate on The Diag as well.


Michigan fans embrace after the 61-56 Final Four victory over Syracuse in the on the Diag on Saturday, April 6.

Daniel Brenner |

More than a dozen uniformed police officers, wearing fluorescent vests, surrounded the entire intersection. In the main spot in town for students the celebration was controlled. Just before midnight, police responded to a what was called in as a riot of around 100 people on White Street.

By 12:30 a.m. White Street was mostly quiet except for a few people screaming in celebration from rooftops.

There was honking, dancing, chanting, and singing “The Victors” as the music played from the bars. Fans shouted out from windows down at the masses and captured the scene on cellphone cameras.

The celebration may have been the heartiest on South University, but the game was watched from nearly anywhere with a TV in this city. At The Arena on East Washington Street, the 150-capacity bar was filled by 5:30 p.m. For prime spots, some were in their seats as early as 4 p.m. Other popular spots, including Conor O’Neill’s and Scorekeepers, had lines out the door before tipoff.

Fans young and old joined in the viewing, including George Menard, who drove up from Perrysburg, Ohio for a day of shopping and to have his four children, ages 12, 11, 9-year-old twins, see the scene from the city.

"We just wanted to spend the day up here, shop and watch the game," Menard said.

A block away at Conor O'Neills, the bar was also at capacity. Two of the people with the best seats in the place were Joshua and Jeremy Sprague, two brothers and musicians who were slated to provide the postgame entertainment.

The two play at the bar once a month, but were sure to get their equipment inside far earlier on Saturday night. By the time the game started, the equipment was set up and the two had pulled up a seat near the piano, right in front of a projection television.

While they watched, they hoped for a win to provide a good concert environment.

"It's going to be a blast," Joshua Sprague said during the first half. "I just hope they win."

Others found televisions in living rooms, pizza joints and countless other places to watch the game.


Sitting in an empty room with a large projection screen, two men watch the Wolverines play Syracuse in the Final Four at Barracuda Network on Maynard Street.

Courtney Sacco |

While most bars were filled to the brim, other restaurants provided more relaxed environments. At New York Pizza Depot, a small crowd watched with little fanfare. In a corner booth, Derrick Campbell Jr. looked like he had just gotten out of bed -- with a Michigan robe and Michigan slippers on.

"Just a little casual night," Campbell said. "Just got to keep it funky."

Some found creative ways to take in the game. At Barracuda Networks on Maynard Street, a pair of fans watched the game projected in the front of a conference room, with beer and pizza on hand. The screen, clearly visible from the street, drew plenty of onlookers.

The only official watch party was held in the Rogel Ballroom of The Michigan Union, where more than 100 students gathered at round tables.

"Great environment," freshman Jeremy Klapper said. "Better than expected."

Just down South University, the scene was markedly different. There wasn't enough space inside Charley's, so the crowd spilled outside. That's where Olivia Bueno, Adrian Roberts, Caryn Rogers and Daisy Finley watched the game from the porch, under a heat lamp and blankets.

"There are no places to watch inside," Bueno said.

As the game wound down, the four moved to the warmer confines indoors to join the crowd as it surged in anticipation of a win.

And on Monday, everyone will be back to do it all again.

Kyle Austin covers sports for He can be reached at or 734-623-2535. Follow him on Twitter @KAustin_AA.



Sun, Apr 7, 2013 : 7:22 p.m.

"Future changes that will restore commenting directly on Wolverine sports articles and improve comment history are in development and coming soon on" So when is the commenting for sports articles coming back to AA dot com? The above statement is from a year ago.......

Fat Bill

Sun, Apr 7, 2013 : 3:03 p.m.

The good news is that is will probably be raining Monday night.


Sun, Apr 7, 2013 : 1:50 p.m.

They better get a lot of cops ready in riot gear if they win. Remember the last time?

Kyle Austin

Sun, Apr 7, 2013 : 3:26 p.m.

There were many cops everywhere on South U last night, I counted around 20 and I would bet there will be more Monday. And our photographer Courtney Sacco said they each all had gas masks with them


Sun, Apr 7, 2013 : 1:32 p.m.

So was the arrest count higher or lower than the Hash Bash? I bet I know the answer.


Sun, Apr 7, 2013 : 8:22 a.m.

Good news for the area. The championship title would be awesome, now if only spring would get here soon.


Sun, Apr 7, 2013 : 6 a.m.

I love my Michigan Wolverines...always have, always will.

Carrie Rheingans

Sun, Apr 7, 2013 : 4:50 a.m.

Any news about whether they'll open Crisler on Monday, and who will be eligible to get in??

Pete Cunningham

Sun, Apr 7, 2013 : 5:32 a.m.

Dave Brandon just posted on Twitter that the Crisler viewing party on Monday is a go. Details will follow tomorrow...or today, rather.

Pete Cunningham

Sun, Apr 7, 2013 : 5:23 a.m.

There will be a watch party at Crisler, according to what the University told us and posted on its website on Thursday. Details of the party are supposed to be released on Sunday.

Kyle Mattson

Sun, Apr 7, 2013 : 4:57 a.m.

Hi Carrie, We'll have more info regarding watch parties coming tomorrow/Monday when the U has finalized their plan.


Sun, Apr 7, 2013 : 4:49 a.m.

Way to go big blue! Win or lose on Monday, Ann Arbor needs to show East Lansing how to celebrate/lose humbly without tearing up the city and campus. (Sparty fans burned furniture after getting knocked out of the dance which is not the way to go!) Hopefully U of M will bring home the title!


Sun, Apr 7, 2013 : 1:25 p.m.

That's right kids, stay classy. Wolverine's know rioting is only for St. Patrick's Day. And winning basketball games... Come to think of it, that was 24 years ago... It does make me wonder how many current seniors/grad students whom are watching the games now were conceived near the sensual glow of the burning cars their parents had overturned. History is funny.


Sun, Apr 7, 2013 : 8:19 a.m.

Ah, just cause a few folks got out of hand doesn't mean the entire school is to blame.