The Final Four is set. USA TODAY Sports’ Scott Gleeson looks toward Saturday’s games featuring Auburn vs. Virginia and Texas Tech vs. Michigan State.
USA TODAY Sports
No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you.
Bank of Ann Arbor — which is, of course, where Michigan State’s rival, the University of Michigan, is located — has erected one billboard in Lansing and eight more in Ann Arbor congratulating and cheering on the Spartans’ Final Four appearance in Minneapolis this weekend.
The only Lansing-area billboard is digital, which means all six slogans the bank chose will rotate throughout the week. Those are:
- 1979. 2000. 2019?
- This week, we bleed green.
- Duke down. Two to go.
- This week, Ann Arbor’s in the Izzone.
- Minneapolis is unusually green this time of year.
- And so it Iz.
And on the bottom, it says, “Good luck in the Final Four, Spartans.” on the left and the Bank of Ann Arbor logo on the right.
Bank president and CEO Tim Marshall said there wasn’t any available billboard space in East Lansing when they inquired on Monday and Tuesday.
“That, of course, would’ve been our first choice,” Marshall said.
Despite the bank’s Ann Arbor ties, Marshall thinks it’s important to celebrate the entire state of Michigan, and Big Ten basketball in general.
“It just seemed ideal that after we saw Michigan State win (Sunday), we could reach out and show our support for the Spartans,” Marshall said. “The consensus was that this was the right thing to do, to support Michigan State as they try to win a national championship.”
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The billboard that perhaps might be the most contentious is the one that says, “This week, Ann Arbor’s in the Izzone.” The three digital boards that are up in Ann Arbor are already rotating those slogans. Marshall said he had not heard any complaints from local residents.
“We don’t take ourselves too seriously, and if you get on our website or go to our social media, we want to bring a smile to other people’s faces,” said Marshall, who graduated from a different Big Ten school, Purdue.
Five vinyl boards will be going up in Ann Arbor on Friday, on top of the three digital ones already live.
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There is no Bank of Ann Arbor branch in the Greater Lansing area. There are four in Ann Arbor, and one location each in Ypsilanti, Saline, Plymouth and Birmingham.
“Coach (John) Beilein and (Tom) Izzo have a good relationship, respect each other, so it just seems to make sense,” Marshall said. “There’s a lot of people that we’re in business with that support and have loyalties to Michigan State and the Big Ten during March Madness.”