Midnight Madness creates preseason buzz
Twelve-year-old East Lansing resident Brady Carlson’s hand high-fived members of the marching band as they entered the Breslin Center for Friday’s Midnight Madness.
“I’m ecstatic because this is going to be fun, and I just drank a Mountain Dew,” Carlson said. “Fire and basketball and everything.”
Midnight Madness opened the 2011-12 Michigan State basketball season at Breslin Center.
During the early stages of the event, the marching band, drum line and cheer team entertained the crowd.
Carlson and his friends lit up as the band high-fived them.
Studio art senior Sammy Brooks plays cymbals in the marching band and enjoyed the chance Midnight Madness gave the band to interact with fans.
“It’s great to see the Spartan spirit is alive in each generation,” Brooks said.
Fans young and old clamored in the stands as rolled up T-shirts were shot out of a T-shirt cannon. A few fans were brought on the court to compete for prizes, such as a new cell phone.
After musical performances and prize giveaways, the lights were shut off, and searchlights circled the crowd. The announcer’s voice boomed on the microphone, and flames shot out from the top of the backboards.
The searchlights illuminated each women’s basketball player as they made their way down the aisle one at a time, entering a makeshift boxing ring on the court.
Following the player introductions, women’s basketball head coach Suzy Merchant entered the boxing ring in a black and gold “Rocky” boxing robe and addressed the crowd.
“We want to thank all of you that supported us last year,” Merchant said.
After the women’s team was introduced, more than 40 former men’s basketball players, coaches and managers welcomed the men’s basketball team. NBA star Shannon Brown and MSU Hall of Famer Mateen Cleaves were among those in attendance.
After the introductions, men’s basketball head coach Tom Izzo rolled into the center in a miniature fighter jet — referencing MSU’s opening game on an aircraft carrier and spoke to the packed crowd about the team.
“They’ll play harder for you — I promise you that,” Izzo said. “If you support us, like you always have, we’re going to win a lot of games this year.”
Both the women’s and men’s team scrimmaged for 10 minutes, concluding the event.
Lansing resident Brianna Springs said she came out to support both the men’s and women’s basketball teams before their seasons start.
“I like how everyone just comes together as a community,” Springs said. “I’m so excited.”