East Lansing — Excitement was in the air Friday night at Breslin Center during Michigan State Madness, as fans waited to see the men’s and women’s basketball teams for the first time before the 2017-18 season.
The anticipation wasn’t so much to see the new-look Spartans scrimmage. Rather, it was to see how head coach Tom Izzo would come out dressed.
Each year, Izzo picks a different costume to don for Midnight Madness, but what would it be this time around? Speculation about the theme ran wild.
Would he pick something Texas-related in reference to the Final Four in San Antonio or maybe Jud Heathcote-based, or even Paul Bunyan to celebrate the football program’s victory over in-state rival Michigan on Oct. 7?
Interestingly, Izzo didn’t come out dressed in anything out of the ordinary.
“You’ve got to remember, for the 22 years I’ve been here, most of the time, I’m doing something insane,” Izzo said. “As I get older, I think they’re worried about the insurance policy because they don’t have me doing as much.”
Each men’s player came out with his nickname on the back of his T-shirt after a short highlight montage. They each had their own entrance song played by DJ Quick Silva.
The biggest applause from the capacity crowd was for Miles Bridges, despite Izzo later downplaying his dance moves.
“Other than Nick (Ward) and Cassius (Winston), I don’t have anyone who can dance so they must be working on basketball every day,” Izzo said.
Women’s head coach Suzy Merchant and her team came out with neon-clad outfits and each player got to dance to her own entrance song, as well.
“This year, we’re going to try our hardest to live up to the expectations that everyone’s had and that’s to put another banner in the sky,” Izzo said.
Both teams had an intersquad scrimmage to end the night.
The men’s team kicks off the season on Oct. 26 at home in an exhibition game against Ferris State. The women’s team will start Nov. 5 at Breslin Center against Lake Superior State.
Connor Muldowney is a freelance writer.