Motor City Madness

BB_Tournament; men's basketball

Marcus Ottey makes a play during UIC’s win over Green Bay Sunday at the Motor City Madness tournament. ­(Photo: Jose Juarez/Horizon League)

Last weekend in Detroit, “a new fire burns” and “together as one” weren’t just social media hashtags.

They were mottos lived out by a group of UIC students, faculty, staff and administrators visiting the Motor City for the Horizon League basketball tournaments.

Showing school pride through boisterous cheers, the group of 72 attended both the UIC women’s and men’s games at the Joe Louis Arena downtown.

The trip — including travel, hotel accommodations and tickets to the games — was funded by UIC Athletics and Student Affairs.

“This was a really great investment for us to be able to bring students to take part in what could be a really great tradition,” said Rhonda Laylo, executive assistant of Student Affairs. “Making it cost effective was really important to make sure that we could bring the maximum amount of students, but also that means maximizing the support we have for our athletes.”

The on-court results exceeded expectations. The women’s team, who were seeded 10th in the bracket, upset Northern Kentucky before falling to Wright State in the second round. The men proved they were no underdogs either, beating Wisconsin-Green Bay to advance to the semifinals Monday night.

As for the student experience, the group was happy about the action on the court and the affordability off it.

“I’ve honestly started to like UIC more since being on this trip,” said Bryson Allison, a senior in psychology. “The ways in which the faculty [and staff] who are with us have made sure that we are safe, accommodated and having fun have helped to make this trip awesome.”

Many who stayed the duration of the tournament also noted an increase of school spirit.

“Everybody’s been coming together and interacting as one,” said Jana Simon, a sophomore. “We’ve all been wearing our red shirts to represent UIC and cheering on our teams with enthusiasm.

“My favorite part has been meeting new people I can hang out with at school.”

“I’ve really amped up my school pride,” added Quannie Hoover, a freshman in criminal justice. “Just being here and being able to represent UIC is great to me.”

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