Michigan State Midnight Madness 2013: Tom Izzo Steals Show at Spartans' Event

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistOctober 19, 2013

Mar 28, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Michigan State Spartans head coach Tom Izzo at a press conference during practice the day before the semifinals of the Midwest regional of the 2013 NCAA tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Michigan State Spartans might be No. 2 in the preseason USA Today Coaches Poll, but there's no doubting Tom Izzo is No. 1 when it comes to making a splash at Midnight Madness.

He's come dressed as everything from a spartan to a hippie, fighter pilot, astronaut and IndyCar driver. Here's his Iron Man entrance from last season:

What did he have up his sleeve this year?

Mike Wilson of Scout.com snapped a picture of a net standing above the court to create some intrigue as to whether that would be part of Izzo's entrance:

Then there was this, via Matt Charboneau of The Detroit News:

Izzo was looking to get "fired out of a cannon" knocked off his bucket list. And apparently this could have been much, much worse.

Kevin Pauga, MSU's director of basketball operations, snapped a photo of the head coach sitting atop the "Izzo Cannon":

After much hype and buildup, eventually the cannon did go off, and the stunt went off without a hitch.

Alas, it was all a ruse. A member of the Spartans dance team named Jennifer was identified as the crazy person who chose to be shot out of a cannon, via the Lansing State Journal's Brian Calloway:

Seriously, though, did you really expect a 58-year-old man to be fired out of a cannon?

It's a good thing that was pretty much the final act of Michigan State's Midnight Madness. After an entrance like that, the rest of the thing would be a bore in comparison. The only way the event could've matched up was if Keith Appling, Adreian Payne or Gary Harris were shot out of that same cannon, only to pull off a full-court dunk, NBA Jam-style.

What's so much fun about this event is how Izzo kicks back and has a good time. You watch him on the sidelines, and you'll be lucky to watch him crack a smile that isn't a sarcastic one directed at the officials. While he may be a stern coach in practice and during games, he knows how to have a good time and make fun of himself.

Following the human cannonball act, there was an intrasquad scrimmage, but as it was a glorified practice, much of the action had already occurred.

MLive.com's Diamond Leung had a couple of talking points:

Harris and fellow Spartan Gavin Schilling wanted to thank the fans who came out to the Breslin Center:

Give credit where credit is due for the women's team as well. Head coach Suzy Merchant had a pretty nice entrance as well, riding in on a military humvee.

This was no doubt a Midnight Madness befitting one of the best basketball teams in the country.


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