March Madness is well under way now and the first two rounds of the NCAA basketball tournament have already come and gone. The landscape of the third round of the NCAA March Madness 2013 , also known as the Sweet 16 round, is set and 16 universities in the will be taking part in it. Sixteen U.S. campuses are currently buzzing as their college basketball teams will be competing to win the highly-coveted title of NCAA Division I Champion!
Fortunately, the basketball players on these 16 teams are not alone! While the athletes on the court will do most of the scoring and defending, a large crowd of crazy student fans will usually follow to attempt to impact the outcome of the game in their own way. Fight songs, painted faces, colored shirts and traditional dances are usual encouragements student sections provide to their teams during games. These student-run organizations are the ones who rent buses to transport students from and to games and who organize pre- and post-game parties. They’re also the channel of communication between student fans and the athletic departments of teams that do the selling of the tickets. Sports student sections are the heart and soul of athletic teams and their activities benefit directly life on campus for students and athletes.
To highlight the work of the student sections, we’ve compiled a list of the 7 most awesome student sections that are taking part in this year’s Sweet 16. These student sections have done an awesome job of representing the values and traditions of their colleges during this year’s March Madness by tirelessly engaging with their student body.
1- University of Oregon - Oregon Pit Crew
Facebook: 1330 likes; Twitter: 4010 followers
“Oregon Ducks Pit Crew is the student section of all Oregon Ducks games. Pit Crew serves the fans as a unified, student run organization that gives the students a central place to learn, participate and engage in all things Oregon Ducks. As the largest student group on campus, we also act as a singular image that acts to enhance the identity of our elusive sporting customs, traditions and games. #GoDucks”
2- Michigan State University - The Izzone
Facebook: 496 likes; Twitter: 5785 followers
“The IZZONE student section is made up of over 3,000 MSU students who provide support, spirit, and a considerable home court advantage for our prestigious men’s basketball program. In addition to cheering on the basketball team, the IZZONE supports other MSU athletic teams and is also involved in the community. The dedication, spirit, and class our students have for Michigan State University are the reasons the IZZONE is considered one of the best student sections in the country.”
3- University of Arizona - ZonaZoo
Facebook: 11193 likes; Twitter: 6036 followers
“Completely student run and over 12,000 deep, the ZonaZoo is the premiere student section in the nation. We bleed Cardinal…and Navy too. Bear Down.”
4- Ohio State University - The Nut House
Facebook: 2756 likes; Twitter: 9571 followers
The Ohio State University Nut House are “the Official Basketball Student Section of The Ohio State University. We are the Buckeyes 6th man.”
5- University of Michigan - Maize Rage
Facebook: 760 likes; Twitter: 9075 followers
“The Maize Rage is a student cheering section for University of Michigan Mens’ Basketball that emphasizes high levels of spirit and sportsmanship. Founded in a down time for the program, this determined group rejuvenated the support that characterizes Michigan Basketball. Whether on the road to cheer our team to victory or packing the bleachers at Crisler, we strive to conduct ourselves in the professional manner embodied by the University of Michigan. Spirited, steadfast and strong: this is the kind of student support that the Maize Rage provides, every single game.”
6- Florida Gulf Coast University - FGCU Dirty Birds
“The Dirty Birds are the original student fan group for FGCU Athletics and are on the front lines as the Eagles move into Division I. They are the pioneers of Eagle Spirit, providing non-stop support for the Blue and Green. As FGCU continues to strive to be the best in Academics and Athletics through the next century, the Dirty Birds share these visions.”
7- Syracuse University - Otto’s Army
“Otto’s Army is the student section of Syracuse Athletics. The Otto’s Army Executive Board and active members are dedicated to unifying the student section at Syracuse University, creating the best atmosphere for the Orange as possible, and making Syracuse the hardest place to play in the nation.”
The March Madness will resume tomorrow and these 7 student sections will take to the stands to do what they do and make their voices be heard! Will you be watching?