Michigan State basketball and Tennessee will face off in a public charity exhibition in place of their scheduled closed-door scrimmage ahead of the 2023-2024 season.
MSU will host the Volunteers on Sunday, Oct. 29 at the Breslin Center, the team announced Wednesday. The scrimmage will be open to the public with all proceeds going to the Hawai’i Community Foundation Maui Strong Fund, providing financial support to relief efforts from the Maui wildfires. Further information, including ticket details, game time and broadcast information, will be announced at a later date.
The Spartans are scheduled to participate in the 2024 Maui Invitational, which takes place annually in Lahaina, and have played in the tournament five times, most recently in 2019. Head Men’s Basketball Coach Tom Izzo has been around for all five appearances – four as head coach.
“The Maui Invitational and the city of Lahaina have always held a special place in my heart,” Izzo said in a statement. “The images we’ve all seen and the stories we’ve heard following the wildfires have touched so many of us in the college basketball world and I know that our thoughts and prayers are with all of those who have been affected.”
The two teams scrimmaged privately last year at Tennessee, and Izzo has a long-standing relationship with Tennessee Head Coach Rick Barnes. Barnes and the Volunteers are slated to take part in the Maui Invitational this November.
“First, I appreciate coach Izzo and Michigan State for hosting this game, which will benefit a community that means so much to the world of college basketball,” Barnes said in a statement. “While we certainly need to continue to pray for the families in Maui who have been impacted, this benefit game will enable us to offer tangible support toward the restoration of Maui and its beautiful spirit.”
Izzo made his head coaching debut for MSU in the 1995 Maui Invitational, picking up his first collegiate win against Chaminade to begin his 28-year Hall of Fame coaching career.
“Our program at Michigan State has had the opportunity to visit the island five different times and I’ll never forget the feelings I had when we arrived and when I walked on to the floor at the Lahaina Civic Center to start my career,” Izzo said in a statement. “It’s one of the most special events in college basketball, and it’s because of the people who put it on and the city that embraces and welcomes all of us.”
The Spartans are 5-2 against the Volunteers in regular-season meetings and have won three straight times. In the 2010 Elite Eight, MSU beat Tennessee 70-69 to advance to the Final Four. However, this time around, the attention shifts from the matchup to the supported cause.
“I’m hopeful that our Spartan family will pack the Breslin Center for what will be a great game, but will have an even greater mission, and that’s to help the Lahaina community as much as we can,” Izzo said in a statement.