Izzone Members Brave Frigid Cold in Line at Breslin Center
There are sports fans, and then there are Spartan fans.
Hundreds of them endured Tuesday's freezing, windy day lined up outside the Breslin Center to get prime seats in the "Izzone" for the historic match-up between No. 4 Michigan State and No. 1 Indiana.
People started lining up at midnight, and the doors didn't open until 5:30 p.m.
The first person in line was MSU freshman Jason Ziokowski, who said he had to convince MSU police to let him stay camped out over night.
"First row's always the best spot, and we're all determined to get it, but it takes determination and effort to get out and actually be the one to do it," Ziokowski said.
In case his mom and dad are worried, Ziokowski wore six layers of clothes and found someone to hold his spot so he could attend his morning class. He did skip the rest of his schedule, but he's certainly not alone.
"I actually had an online quiz today, but I got an extension because I told him I'm waiting in line all day," MSU Sophomore Mike Convery said.
His whole class got the extension because most were waiting in line, but it's not exactly a vacation. Students usually grow hungry and bored waiting for the Izzone, and alumni know the feeling. Adam McKay graduated from MSU last year and now owns a local business who decided to donate dozens of pizzas to those in line.
"I've sat in this line probably about 30 or 40 times and freezed my tail off," McKay said. "Everybody knows these are the best fans in the country. They're going to be ready to go, and they definitely deserve a couple of slices of pizza."
With fans well fed but hungry for another big win after beating Michigan last week, the Athletic Department said this might take the cake for games hosted at the Breslin Center.
"The fact that they're highly ranked teams, there's a little history between the coaches with Tom Crean at Indiana," MSU Associate Athletic Director Paul Schager said. "With Magic Johnson broadcasting the game tonight with Dick Vitale and the ESPN crew, so there's definitely a lot of hype for this game."
So much hype, in fact, that MSU set up barricades this time around to make sure the Izzone line stayed orderly, though that can be difficult.
"I am getting in there, regardless, I will run through these bushes, I will be in there," Convery said.
He'll be one of about 15,000 people in a sold out crowd, 3,000 of them in the Izzone.
"The Izzone is the sixth player on the court," Ziokowski said. "We're here to cheer on our team, and that atmosphere in there, that's what keeps our team going."
It was a full "white out" in the Breslin Center. The Athletic Department said it wanted it to feel like one big Izzone.
Tuesday's matchup between #1 Indiana and #4 MSU is the first time two Top 5-ranked teams are facing off against each other at the Breslin Center.
MSU great Earvin "Magic" Johnson will also be a part of the broadcast team for ESPN.
It means students were lined up beginning at the wee hours of the morning for a front row seat. Some told us they were there as early at 1:00AM.
MSU Alumni helped the students in their quest by having pizzas, Jimmy Johns, and other goods delivered to students waiting in the frigid cold weather.