There is one common group at every Michigan women’s basketball game. Whether the Wolverines are winning by a landslide, in a tight match-up, or down by 35 points, they will cheer on Michigan come hell or high water.
They keep the crowd excited, whether Crisler sits empty or full, and even have some influence on the game itself.
They are the Michigan band.
Every home game, they sit on the north side of Crisler Center just behind the hoop, decked out in maize shirts and white gloves, commanding attention.
Along with playing the famous “Hail to the Victors” at every possible moment, the band has some fun antics that always provide a good laugh. During halftime, the band likes to get really involved with the fans in Crisler Arena.
“For Blues Brothers, the trombones will always run off and go hang out,” said sophomore tuba player Maisey Schuler. “Sometimes they’ll go into the student section, sometimes they’ll go into the stands and sometimes the trumpets will join them.”
The trombones always end up in a different area of the arena and never fail to startle a fan. In the past, they have sprinted to the complete opposite end of Crisler, run down onto the court or even sat down right in the middle of a group of spectators. No matter what they do, they never fail to get a laugh.
The Michigan marching band also always aims to please the fans and play music just for them. One song known to all Michigan students that has worked its way into their repertoire is “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers.
“This is something that started with football actually, we had a fan favorites show and brought in Mr. Brightside so we brought that here,” Schuler said. “We also brought in music for the ‘90s theme night a couple weeks ago. So now we play ‘90s songs too.”
In addition to playing music that every Michigan fan knows and loves, the band also leads the crowd in cheers.
While Michigan’s opponent is shooting free-throws, the band will screech in unison at the top of their lungs in order to distract the shooter. Another surprisingly successful tactic that the band does is trick the opponent into taking a bad shot before the shot clock expires.
When the shot clock shows 20 seconds left, the marching band will begin to loudly countdown from ten, hoping to trick the opponent — and has been successful on multiple occasions.
“It’s hilarious,” Schuler said. “Every time we’re like ‘Wait, did they actually believe us?’ Sometimes, it’s just absurd. (There will) be twenty seconds left and they’ll shoot.”
Even when morale is low, the band is always in high spirits and will be enthusiastic until the very last second. The rest of Crisler may be silent or have given up, but the band never will.
The trumpets and tubas seem to fittingly be the loudest and most boisterous sections of the band and are constantly bringing in new ideas for cheers.
“There are some leaders among us. Some of the veteran trumpets for sure always bring in new cheers and stuff that they come up with and they keep us pumped up,” said Schuler. “And of course the tubas do all kinds of goofy stuff like bouncing around the court after the third quarter for women’s games, and the goofy things keep us motivated.”
Even if things are looking bad for the Wolverines or Crisler looks empty, you can always count on the band to bring energy, enthusiasm and a little bit of fun to women’s basketball games.