Midnight Madness marks return of basketball season at Breslin Center
Dressed as a fighter jet pilot, men’s basketball head coach Tom Izzo speaks on Oct. 14, 2011, during Midnight Madness at Breslin Center.
When MSU men’s basketball head coach Tom Izzo makes his grand entrance Friday night at Midnight Madness at Breslin Center, it might be his most menacing reveal yet.
Both the men’s and women’s basketball teams and coaches will be introduced at the event that officially gets their seasons under way.
Matt Larson, new media director for the athletics department and sports information director for men’s basketball, said the event has been going on since the early years of Tom Izzo.
“Player introductions are usually the highlight of the event” Larson said. “Things are capped off with Izzo’s entrance.”
MSU athletics director Mark Hollis tweeted from his personal account this week that he expects Breslin Center to be the site of “Izzo’s most dangerous entrance ever,” with another one predicting screams reminiscent of Halloween night. In the past, Izzo has entered as an astronaut, riding a horse and in an IndyCar, among others.
Attendees can enter Breslin Center beginning at 9:30 p.m., and Larson said there will be many acts before both the teams are introduced, including autographs by both teams and appearances by the MSU drumline and cheer teams.
Larson said that in the past, college teams couldn’t touch the basketball until Saturday morning, so they made a big hype-up event to get things started.
“It marks the official start of basketball season,” he said. “Now it’s sometimes a thing that ESPN and the Big Ten Network will televise it. Everyone has different ways of doing it.”
Freshman guard Denzel Valentine said he is looking forward to being a part of something he has attended as a fan in past years.
“I’ve been to them and it is an awesome atmosphere,” Valentine said at media day on Tuesday. “My sophomore year of high school, I came to the one at Michigan State and the last two years went to my brother Drew’s at Oakland University. I am excited and looking forward to the fun.”
Residential College in the Arts and Humanities sophomore Danny Finegan said he and his family regularly make a “Spartan weekend” out of the football game and midnight madness each year.
“Our family used to always come up for the Spartan football games,” Finegan said. “We’d come and stay the night in Lansing so we could go to Midnight Madness and then go to the football game, It’s a nice way to show the team our support.”
Two of his favorite Izzo entrances were when the coach came out in a race car, and when the team dressed up like characters from “The Wizard of Oz,” and he said he is excited to see what they come up with this year.
“It’s going to be dangerous and it should be exciting,” Finegan said. “It’s always nice to see the names announced for the first time.”
Larson said he wanted to stress that it is a free event, and with the price of tickets today, it can be a nice alternative for a big family.
“Parking is free and admission is free,” he said. “There is something unique to having moms and dads staying up late.”