Midnight Madness builds buzz for basketball season


As sparks flew, all the eyes in Breslin Center turned skyward Friday night at Midnight Madness as an Iron Man suit flew across the floor to help kick off the basketball season for both the men’s and women’s basketball teams.

Men’s basketball head coach Tom Izzo appeared wearing an Iron Man suit, and accompanied by his family, who were dressed as the Avengers.

“I just pictured my boss, Jud Heathcote, doing this,” Izzo told the crowd. “It’s been three years since we’ve been back to a Final Four, and I think it’s time to start moving forward here.”

Adam Toolin / The State News
Adam Toolin / The State News

Social work senior Mike Grimaldi was at his last Midnight Madness and said he thought it was as great, as always.

“Having this be my last Midnight Madness, it’s always a great time,” Grimaldi said. “The athletics department always (has) something exciting planned for Izzo to come and make an entrance. … It was probably my favorite of the four years that I’ve been here.”

As a huge fan of former MSU basketball player Draymond Green, he said he was sad to see him graduate, but still is excited for what the current team can do.

“We have a lot of young talent and only one senior, Derrick Nix,” he said. “I think a lot of the freshmen are going to step up more than people think, especially Denzel Valentine.”

Kyle Reynolds, usher staff director at Breslin Center, said there were no crowd control issues, even with the thousands of people who attended the event.

“It was probably one of the best ones we’ve had thus far,” Reynolds said. “We had a lot of creative ideas, and I think the crowd reacted well to the ideas that the athletics department came up with.”

He added just because it was a free event, the type of person that attended made it manageable.

“You would think just because we’re letting anyone in, but if you keep people busy, they won’t fall out of line,” Reynolds said. “People who showed up are people who are passionate about Spartan basketball, so we don’t have any problems.”

Each year, Karl Figg and his son, Simeon, make a vacation out of Midnight Madness and said this was fantastic as usual.

“It’s always a good time,” Karl Figg said. “I went to school here, and my son and I love to watch Spartan basketball. … We like (MSU athletics director Mark) Hollis and Izzo and (MSU women’s basketball head coach Suzy Merchant) and what they do together.”

Simeon Figg said he enjoyed this year’s Midnight Madness because he felt more involved throughout the night.

“I don’t know if they did all the games last year, but it felt like it was more personal with the crowd,” he said. “I thought the way they introduced Izzo was a lot more detailed; it was a lot funnier.”

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