Oct. 19, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Although practice has already begun, the Michigan State basketball programs took a break from this season's preparation to entertain the Spartan fans at Midnight Madness on Friday night inside Breslin Center.
Doors opened at 8:30 p.m., allowing fans to get autographs from their favorite Spartans, before the night's programing started an hour later. In front of a capacity crowd, the night began with performances from the Spartan Marching Band, Drumline, dance team and cheerleaders.
First to be introduced was the 2013-14 Michigan State women's basketball program, following the theme of "warriors." Each player entered the arena dressed in a camouflage Spartan shirt, setting the stage for head coach Suzy Merchant's grand entrance. Wearing fatigues, Merchant rode on the floor with her sons, Tyler and Brady, on top of a camouflage army hummer. She addressed the crowd about the upcoming season, singling out Madison Williams, who received a standing ovation from the sell-out crowd, and this year's captains Klarissa Bell and Annalise Pickrel.
The dramatic entrance of men's basketball head coach Tom Izzo followed, after the individual introduction of his 2013-14 squad. After a video showing Izzo and other MSU athletic department members brainstorming idea for his entrance, he entered through some smoke on top of a cannon truck. After checking the safety netting, Izzo appeared to climb in the cannon and be shot across the Breslin floor. The players then rushed to greet their "coach" as he flipped out of the net. Izzo took the mic at midcourt and revealed that it was in fact a professional performer - Jennifer Smith-Schneider, aka "Cannon Lady" that was shot out of the cannon.
"I can't tell you how excited we are for the season," Izzo told the crowd. "These guys have worked their tail off the whole summer. It's been an incredible, incredible summer for 'em. There's a lot of high expectations. I understand that, but not any higher than we have.
"There's been a lot of guys that have sacrificed a lot. Guys gave up a lot to play for you this year. Some had some tough decisions to make and made 'em. All I'm asking of you is each and every game, hang with us because it's a long season."
Following the introductions, both teams took to the court. The women's team scrimmaged their scout team for 10 minutes, coming out on top 20-17. Meanwhile the men played against each other for 20 minutes, as the green team, led by senior Keith Appling, beat the white team, 50-42.