Watch Tom Izzo Transform into a Member of Kiss for Midnight Madness

Tom Izzo celebrates Midnight Madness better than any other college basketball coach. In years past, he has been shot out of a cannon, dressed up like Iron Man and arrived by fighter jet. But this year, he went all out.

Tom Izzo embraced his true rock ‘n’ roll personality and went full Kiss. Bleacher Report was there to see all of the preparation, including his makeup and his costume. 

Midnight Madness stage footage is courtesy of the Big Ten Network.

Go to the Big Ten Network’s website to see Izzo’s entrance to Midnight Madness as well as the full archive of Michigan State’s Midnight Madness (subscription required).

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Duke Countdown to Craziness 2014: Midnight Madness Recap and Twitter Reaction

If the entire Duke basketball team plays the way the White team did on Saturday night in the Countdown to Craziness scrimmage, the program might add to its national championship haul. 

The White team won both halves of play and top recruit Jahlil Okafor was the star. The 6’10″ freshman had double-digit scoring in both periods. Duke M. Basketball provided first-half stats:

Okafor led all scorers overall and quickly proved that the hype was real surrounding his mature low-post game.

After scoring 12 points in the first session, he topped off his night with 15 in the second half. He’s not known as a huge leaper, but after shining so brightly in the scrimmage, you had to wonder whether Okafor would get into the event’s dunk contest. Blue Devil Nation was impressed, and Duke Basketball felt “everyone in attendance” was impressed by Okafor’s performance: 

Let’s not get carried away.

The finals came down to Grayson Allen and Marshall Plumlee. These young men have the hops to buck a common stereotype. Adam Rowe of 247Sports.com highlighted the matchup:

Though Allen landed a 360 during his run, he had some issues completing dunks in the final, and that gave Plumlee the title, as Duke M. Basketball tweeted:

 

Close Call

While the scrimmage was all fun and games for the most part, there was one moment of concern. Justise Winslow went down with an injury, but it turned out to be a cramp. Stephen Wiseman of The Herald-Sun and Duke Basketball provided insight on Winslow’s injury:

Winslow is expected to be a major part of Duke’s success this year. Along with Okafor and point guard Tyus Jones, the 6’8″ freshman small forward is listed as a potential lottery selection by Draft Express.

The injury was obviously very minor because Winslow participated in the dunk contest. Still, the collective hearts of Duke nation had to skip a beat when Winslow went down. No team wants to lose a key player, but it would be especially tough to see a guy go down for an extended period in a scrimmage.

Head coach Mike Krzyzewski had to feel confident that Winslow was fine as he allowed him to compete in the dunking exhibition. 

 

Expectations are High

Clearly, Larry Winters enjoyed Countdown to Craziness:

Between the playmaking of Jones, the athleticism of Allen, Plumlee and Winslow, as well as the post presence of Okafor and the leadership of Rasheed Sulaimon, Duke looks every bit as stacked as its No. 3 preseason ranking in the USA Today poll would suggest.

If the team stays healthy and matures, it will be among the sport’s best teams all year.

 

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Michigan State Coach Tom Izzo Dresses as a Member of KISS for Midnight Madness

We have officially seen it all. 

Michigan State coach Tom Izzo really went all out this year for Midnight Madness, as he dressed as a member of the band KISS. 

The photo below says it all. 

[Big Ten Network, h/t CBS Sports]

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The 10 Best Moments from ‘Midnight Madness’ Celebrations Around the Country

The games themselves mark the true start of the 2014-15 college basketball season, but at this point we’ve gone long enough without hoops action that any glimpse of what’s in store is welcomed with open arms.

Midnight Madness definitely did the trick.

Since practices officially began Oct. 3, schools throughout the country have been holding events that are heavy on flair and light on actual basketball. Meant to hype up the fanbase for the season ahead, some schools go a little overboard trying to make their Midnight Madness celebrations stand out.

This leads to highlight-reel dunks, high jinks and hilarious getups, as you’ll see in our ranking of the best Midnight Madness moments.

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Drake is at Kentucky’s Big Blue Madness

He can’t be good at everything.

      
 

 

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Kentucky’s deep squad delights at Big Blue Madness

Kentucky’s talented 12-deep roster has physical workout during sold-out Big Blue Madness

      
 

 

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Kentucky wows at Big Blue Madness

Wildcats embrace the spectacle as they get to work.

      
 

 

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Kentucky’s deep squad delights at Big Blue Madness (Yahoo Sports)

The Kentucky Wildcat mascot descends from the ceiling during the team's NCAA college basketball Big Blue Madness, Friday, Oct. 17, 2014, in Lexington, Ky. (AP Photo/James Crisp)

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Just as Drake appeared to draw the biggest cheers at Big Blue Madness, the rapper introduced Kentucky coach John Calipari and the noise then became a roar.


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Kentucky Big Blue Madness 2014: Recap and Twitter Reaction for Wildcats

The Kentucky Wildcats have national title aspirations, but Friday night’s Big Blue Madness was all about enjoying the arrival of basketball season and entertaining their legions of fans.

If there was any doubt just how big basketball is in the state of Kentucky, every ticket to the event was snatched within the first 30 minutes of availability on Saturday morning. Steve Jones of The Courier-Journal set the stage:

Matt Jones of Kentucky Sports Radio noted that the Wildcats players weren’t the only big names in attendance Friday:

The women’s team was announced first, and Kentucky Athletics provided fans who weren’t in attendance a glimpse at the accompanying video:

Women’s head coach Matthew Mitchell attempted to steal the spotlight right away when he came out after his team. Writer Jerry Tipton and Alex Forkner of Rivals described the scene as the coach serenaded the crowd with Bruno Mars songs. It was something you only see at Midnight Madness events:

UK Hoops shared a picture of the entertainment and pointed out that the country took notice:

While the ceremony and crowd involvement is certainly a worthy aspect of an event like this, the real value lands in the recruiting department. Kentucky basketball always puts on a show, and Friday’s Big Blue Madness was no exception.

Kentucky sophomore Aaron Harrison recalled his experience at Big Blue Madness as a recruit, via Steve Jones of The Courier-Journal, “It just gave me the whole idea of how serious Kentucky basketball is, and it was just a great feeling, exciting feeling. Once you witness something like that, there’s no way you can not want to play in an atmosphere like that.”

Matt Jones and Steve Jones shared some rather interesting developments:

Back on the actual floor, Steve Jones and Forkner shared the most interesting moment during the women’s scrimmage:

Then it was time for the main event, as the men’s team came out. As to be expected, there was quite the introduction with a video of the program’s greatest moments followed by a hype video for this season’s squad. 

Forkner described the scene, which was capped off by digital national championship banners hanging from the rafters:

Kentucky Athletics provided fans who were not in attendance a glimpse at the video used:

After the players were introduced, Drake took the stage and addressed the crowd before introducing Calipari. Matt Jones and Forkner described the proceedings: 

After the histrionics, the team hit the floor in a number of three-on-three games. It split the crowd’s attention a bit before the five-on-five scrimmage, but the recruits were likely already impressed. The team then transitioned to a five-of-five scrimmage, which let the players demonstrate their incredible ability.

Kentucky Athletics provided some early updates:

The game actually came down to the wire, but Alex Poythress put it away with a three-pointer in the final minute. It put the white team up 40-36, and it eventually won the contest 42-36. Jeff Drummond of AllWildcats.com provided one final update:

Honestly, the most important thing of the entire evening was the fact that the team remained healthy throughout the scrimmages.

Now that Big Blue Madness is in the rearview mirror, it’s time for Calipari’s Wildcats to focus on the upcoming season. If the No. 1 ranking in the initial coaches poll didn’t give it away, this is one of the nation’s best teams.

The freshmen will clearly play a major role, as they almost always do in Kentucky, as Karl Towns, Trey Lyles, Devin Booker and Tyler Ulis should all see significant minutes. However, this team will have a veteran presence as well since Willie Cauley-Stein, Dakari Johnson, Poythress and the Harrison brothers all returned.

Kentucky has so many pieces that it will have more talent on its bench at any given moment during a game than most teams will have on the floor. It truly is national championship or bust this season for Big Blue Nation.

 

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Drake Attends Kentucky’s Big Blue Madness, Brings Lint Roller and Air Balls 3

Drake claims he’s “always” been a Kentucky fan.

On Friday, he continued to show his support for the Wildcats at their Big Blue Madness event, an open practice for both the men’s and women’s teams.

Updates from [Friday, Oct.17]

Drake got the chance to be introduced with the team, and he did not disappoint. The rapper brought his infamous lint roller.

He, then, proceeded to warm up with the players.

 –End of Update–

The rapper greeted every single Kentucky player before entering Rupp Arena.

Whatever you may think of Drake’s Wildcats fandom, Kentucky fans couldn’t be happier.

[YouTube, Vine, Twitter, h/t College Spun]

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