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Posted on Wed, Feb 13, 2013 : 5:45 a.m.

Spartans fan sees evidence of a new day in Michigan rivalry despite Tuesday's blowout

By Kyle Feldscher


Michigan State fans were raucous during Michigan State's 75-52 win over Michigan at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on Feb. 12.

Melanie Maxwell |

EAST LANSING -- For the first time in my years of going to Michigan State University basketball games, the Breslin Center atmosphere reached its peak for a Michigan game Tuesday night.

I’ve heard it ear-splittingly loud quite a few times. Drew Neitzel’s three-pointer that put a dagger in No. 1 Wisconsin in 2007 stands out among others.

But never for Michigan.

Games against Purdue, Ohio State and Wisconsin and the odd big out-of-conference game always got the most noise. Michigan games have always been big, but during my time in school — from 2006 to 2010 — there was rarely anything on the line when the Spartans and Wolverines matched up.



Resident Spartan, cops and courts reporter Kyle Feldscher.

Melanie Maxwell | file photo cops and courts reporter Kyle Feldscher is a Michigan State alumnus and unabashed Spartans fan who occasionally chimes in on the Michigan-Michigan State rivalry from a Spartan living in Ann Arbor's perspective. Check out his previous work:
Tuesday night was different. The building buzzed like a hornet’s nest. Seated way up in section 218, I was just one row in front of some nervous Maize Ragers who made the same trip from Ann Arbor. They were loud too, singing The Victors as they tend to do.

Their noise was drowned out in the game’s opening minutes, but that their noise needed to even be drowned out is a recent development in my tenure.

My experiences in the Izzone for Michigan games were, for the most part, humorous. I remember singing Country Roads to John Beilein during his first game at MSU, poking fun of the fact that Michigan was raiding West Virginia for all their coaches at the time, but I honestly don't remember specific elements of any of the games.

They were, by definition, unmemorable.

Michigan fans made the trip, but never in impressive numbers.

It didn't feel like a rivalry before those games. It didn't feel like a rivalry during those games. It didn't feel like a win over a rival after those games.

Tuesday was different. Michigan didn't hold up its end of the bargain on the court, but still, Tuesday was different.

MSU defeated Michigan by double digits in the three times they played at home during my school years, but the games were unremarkable, regular games. It was loud, but it was never the adrenaline-fueled scene of chaos that took place in the Izzone during those great 40 minutes on Tuesday.

We Spartans fans hate to admit it, but Tuesday was different because it mattered. Tuesday was different because — and we hate to admit this too — Michigan's good again.

Tuesday felt like a win over a rival.

I’ve watched enough Michigan basketball this year to know that this is a great team. The sloppy Wolverines that appeared on Tuesday ran into a Spartan buzzsaw, and that’ll happen to the best of teams.

Even though Michigan fell in incredibly embarrassing fashion Tuesday night, it’s clear there’s a new day in the rivalry. It bugs us to admit this, but Michigan State fans recognize the growing importance of this rivalry. Even before the Spartans put the hurt on Michigan, the Izzone bounced like popcorn on a stove and the usually quiet folks in the green seats -- normally reserved for the older generation of respected alumni -- were on their feet early and often.

Trust me, it takes a lot to get the green seaters riled up.

I’ve never heard Breslin as consistently loud as it was Tuesday. The noise came in waves and seemed to put a blanket over some of Michigan's top stars, most notably Tim Hardaway Jr. and Glenn Robinson III.

In the past that atmosphere wasn't something fans found necessary for the Michigan game.

Though Michigan reacted horribly to the hostile environment on Tuesday, the atmosphere it faced at the Breslin Center — and Assembly Hall and the Kohl Center and in Columbus before that — are a testament to their newly-found status in the Big Ten’s elite.

The Michigan fans themselves adapted much better in the hostile atmosphere than the players they came to cheer and that too was a testament to a new growth in the rivalry.

There was a large block of Michigan fans in my corner of the Breslin Center, near Gate A. Throughout the stands, highlighter yellow-clad fans stood out against the whiteout conditions in the Breslin Center seats.

Even though there were Michigan fans starting to make their way toward the exits with 11 minutes remaining, most of the Maize Ragers stayed until the end.

More Michigan fans left early than I ever remember even coming in the first place.

That’s a credit to them. When the rivalry gets better, the fans get better too. They were classy throughout the game and I heard a lot of intelligent basketball talk around me.

Simply not the case in past years. Good for them.

Good for the rivalry.

Nothing needs to be said about this Spartan win, one of the greatest regular season results in program history. Everything that could be said as trash talk from one fan to another was said on the court.

At the end of the day, this was an anomaly. A glorious, glorious, majestic anomaly that I’ll savor for the rest of my life.

And as great as the win was, I know that's not how all the games will be. Michigan is a team to be nervous about again. Michigan's a team to be pumped for when they take court, and elated when the victories come.

For these wins to continue to feel this good, let's face it, they can't all feel this good.

So welcome back to the rivalry Michigan. Stick around, it's fun up here.

As much as I like to see Michigan back as a legitimate rival and in the conversation with Michigan State as one of the Big Ten’s best basketball programs, I still just want my Spartans to win.

Jud Heathcote said it best, “You want a healthy rivalry, but you don’t want to lose to those bastards either.”

Kyle Feldscher covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.


Blue Marker

Wed, Feb 13, 2013 : 8:57 p.m.

All season long while Michigan was doing well the Sparty fans said "it's a marathon, not a sprint. Wait until the season is over before you gloat". Well, apparently the season ended last night because no Sparties are waiting to declare them selves a national title contender and Michigan as over-rated. I guess we can all go home now.

Jenn McKee

Wed, Feb 13, 2013 : 7:53 p.m.

Thanks for making last night's humiliating loss feel slightly less awful, and for providing a bright side for the U-M faithful.


Wed, Feb 13, 2013 : 5:53 p.m.

The better team won.


Wed, Feb 13, 2013 : 3:49 p.m.

So you want to welcome Michigan to good or great rivalry status with MSU basketball by inflating how good Michigan is (you say they are a 'great team' and even state that GR3 is one if UM's 'stars' - have you not watched UM basketball for the past couple months?). Then, you downplay the beat down last night as 'an anomaly.' All to make your point of welcoming Michigan back as some important rival; but your point basically comes down to the atmosphere you experienced as compared to previous experiences. Sorry, but I'm not buying this sleight of handed approach. MSU has felt underrated and under-appreciated all season. A #4 team came to town, who also happens to be a rival in general, particularly on other sports, yet not so much in basketball. MSU had something to prove. And they did it spectacularly. This does not mean UM and MSU have re-enacted a good or great rivalry in basketball. Perhaps a mediocre one - but that's what they had before. I would argue that last night actually served to more dispel than bolster any notion of a renewed rivalry of any significance. Last night was a factor of an MSU team with something to prove, general dislike of Michigan, and an overrated Michigan team. I think you got a little too carried away in the atmosphere, extrapolating an N of 1 way beyond what you should. It was one game, and it was an anomaly - not in terms of the outcome of the game (for MSU has beaten down on UM for how many years now - since 1998? In other words, many data points), but in terms of its atmosphere.


Thu, Feb 14, 2013 : 1:33 a.m.

ummmmm, so you just confirmed my numbers, sport. And yes, it is valid to pick the most recent seasons, since the discussion revolves around recent turnarounds. But, since you don't want to "cherry pick", UM leads MSU 94-76. Maybe you can find a different sport to follow. One that MSU leads the series in. Good luck finding that one though.


Wed, Feb 13, 2013 : 8:20 p.m.

"Well, actually, UM is 5-2 over the last 3 seasons" Nope! Against MSU, UM is 0-1 this year, 1-1 in the 2011/12 season, 2-0 in the 2010/11 season, and 0-2 in the 2009/10 season. It's hard to cherry pick time frames that UM looks good in this rivalry, I'd stick to focusing on 2010/11 if I were you.

Kyle Feldscher

Wed, Feb 13, 2013 : 7:11 p.m.

edjasbord - Any win by more than 20 points in the Big Ten this year is an anomaly. The teams are so talented and the conference so deep that many teams are able to stick around in games. If your contention is that a top-5 team getting totally run in a game is a normal course of events, by all means, feel free to expand on that. This was a rarity. MSU came out with fire, but I've seen them come out with fire before and lose. A lot of State fans would love to believe that Michigan, as a program, is a flash in the pan. I don't see that happening. Stick your head in the sand if you want, but the Wolverines are going to be a player in the Big Ten for years to come.


Wed, Feb 13, 2013 : 6:38 p.m.

"for MSU has beaten down on UM for how many years now - since 1998" Well, actually, UM is 5-2 over the last 3 seasons, but don't let your green colored glasses cover up a good opinion.


Wed, Feb 13, 2013 : 2:02 p.m.

Pretty wordy to essentially paraphrase the Mike Hart line.


Wed, Feb 13, 2013 : 6:34 p.m.

Gotta call 'em like eye see 'em. Even if it hurts.

Kyle Feldscher

Wed, Feb 13, 2013 : 4:23 p.m.

I mean, you said it, not me EyeHeart.