Fan celebrations spill into the streets after Michigan advances to national championship
- Related: With Gallery: Wolverines fans hit the streets to celebrate Final Four victory over Syracuse
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.
Daniel Brenner | AnnArbor.com
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.
Courtney Sacco | AnnArbor.com
"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.