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April 3, 2013

Football team cheers on basketball team's success

Brady Hoke had traveled to East Lansing for Michigan's basketball game at Michigan State during the regular season. He won't be in Atlanta for this weekend's Final Four, but he will be cheering for John Beilein's crew.

"I'll have a nice seat on my couch," said Hoke, who noted he couldn't travel with U-M in the midst of spring football. "I've talked to John after every one of their wins. Went over and saw him [Tuesday]. We're really excited for him."

The entire athletic community is caught up in the fervor of this basketball team, with the players acknowledging the NCAA Tournament games have become must-see TV.

When sophomore point guard Trey Burke hit a game-tying three-pointer against Kansas last weekend, the Wolverines' football players, like everyone else, erupted.

"I watched it at my friends house and we were all going crazy," junior linebacker Brennen Beyer said.

"Fitz [Toussaint] and Jibreel [Black], and Tom Gordon and I … it was nuts. I think the whole neighborhood went crazy," fifth-year senior placekicker Brendan Gibbons said.

Gibbons and U-M junior Tim Hardaway are current neighbors and they're also from the same state. Gibbons encouraged Hardaway to take it to the home-state Florida Gators in the South Regional finals, and the Maize and Blue did just that.

"As a community, a sports community, we're all proud of them," Gibbons said. "I think they might bring home the whole thing."

While Michigan hasn't landed a football commitment during this tourney run, Hoke acknowledged that having so much Michigan on the national scene is good for his program. Mostly, though, he's just happy for Beilein and Co.

"It's been great and it's great how hard John has worked, and that staff in the six years, how they've recruited -- that team has shown a lot of character," he said.


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