EAST LANSING, Mich. – Although the teams have been practicing for a few weeks, the Michigan State men and women’s basketball programs showed off their skills and entertained the Spartan fans at MSU Midnight Madness.
The festivities began when the doors opened at 8:30 p.m., allowing fans to get both the men and women’s posters. The players and coaches were available for autographs, before the evening’s programing started an hour later.
In front of a near-capacity crowd, the night began with performances from the MSU Drumline, dance team and cheerleaders and the Spartan Marching Band.
First to be introduced was the 2014-15 Michigan State women’s basketball program, which followed a Beyoncé theme this season. Each player entered the arena dressed in a tank tops with the Beyoncé motto “we run the world.” This set the stage for head coach Suzy Merchant’s, or “Suzý’s” grand entrance. Dressed in full-on Beyoncé attire, Merchant entered the stage with her sons, Tyler and Brady, as security. After performing a dance number with the entire team, she addressed the crowd about the upcoming season.
“We just want to say thank you, I know there is more than festivities tonight, but we just want everyone to throw it up there right girls?! We just wanted to put it out there for our fans because we just so appreciate you and what you’re all about and how you support our team. This team is coming off of a Big Ten Championship last year and we have plans to do it again. We’re excited about our future. This night is about you guys,” Merchant said.
Coming down through the stands, the 2014-15 men’s team was announced. Next a video featuring head coach Tom Izzo and former NFL head coach Steve Mariucci, who was Izzo’s roommate at Northern Michigan, flashing back to a phone call about their future careers. Izzo recalled wanting to play accordion in a rock band and later appears in tour bus full of former Spartan basketball greats and Izzo’s family, dressed as member of the rock band KISS. He then performed with the KISS cover band War Machine.
“Just to show you the luck I have, most rock bands come in on a bus full of girls, but my bus is filled with former players. I do want to thank all the guys that came back here tonight. There have been a lot of cool things done here,” Izzo told the crowd. “We’ve got guys back from the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s. I look at those guys who are back there with me in that bus and, to be honest with you, they’ve built this place. Steve Smith started it with the Big Ten Championship in its first year of existence. Some of these guys won a National Championship here; they hung the banner. Now, it’s time for the new guys to step up because we’ve gone too long without a National Championship.”
In a shooting contest after the introductions and a rock concert, the team of former Spartan great Morris Peterson, men’s senior forward Branden Dawson and women’s freshman forward Kennedy Johnson and a lucky fan from the crowd captured the win. The night concluded with a brief men’s basketball scrimmage where the white team edged the green team, 37-32.