One of the essential parts of an exciting college basketball atmosphere has nothing to do with the team, the coaches, or the game. It’s the student section.

Student sections at universities around the country take it upon themselves to bring the energy level in basketball arenas to the next level, and Illinois State’s Red Alert is no exception.

Thanks to the dedication of Athletics staff and Red Alert student interns and the Redbirds’ impressive 27-win season, attendance at Illinois State men’s basketball games increased by almost 300 students per game this year. This increase brought average attendance to 1,027 rowdy student fans flooding the south end of Redbird Arena for home games.

New for the 2016–2017 season was a group of Red Alert superfans, picked to become the group’s designated yell leaders. Essentially, this small group is responsible for bringing the noise, the dance moves, and the goofy outfits to pump up the crowd at home games (in which the ‘Birds were undefeated this year, we might add).

Meet Brian Summers, Justin Kuehn, Mike O’Donnell, and Craig Cummins—your Red Alert yell leaders. This group of loyal Redbird hoops fans talk about their Red Alert experiences and reminisce on this historic season as they prepare to cheer for the Redbirds, who are preparing for their first-round NIT game against the UC Irvine Anteaters on Wednesday, March 15 at 8:30 p.m.

Red Alert is not just for the die-hard sports fan, it is also for students who want to have fun with their friends at one of the best social activities on campus. Students can join online, in person at the Redbird Arena Ticket Office, or by calling (309) 438-8000. Red Alert students receive early admission so they can get the best seats and access to premium game day giveaways before all other fans.

Tickets for the first-round NIT game will go on sale to the public at 9 a.m. Tuesday, March 14. Cost will be $15 for lower bowl and $10 for upper bowl. Tickets can be purchased through Illinois State Athletics, in person at the Redbird Arena Ticket Office, or by calling (309) 438-8000.

For students, the first 500 tickets are free and can be claimed starting at 9 a.m. Monday. The ticket will be sent to their student ID. These 500 free tickets are sponsored by the Division of Student Affairs. After those 500 are claimed, tickets will be $5 per student. Red Alert members must purchase tickets for all postseason games.