Tennessee basketball, Michigan State to play charity exhibition to benefit Maui fire relief

Tennessee basketball, Michigan State to play charity exhibition to benefit Maui fire relief

Tennessee basketball and Michigan State will play a charity exhibition instead of a closed-door scrimmage prior to the 2023-24 season.

The Vols and Spartans announced Wednesday an Oct. 29 exhibition in East Lansing, Michigan, with all proceeds from the game will be donated to the Hawai’i Community Foundation Maui Strong Fund to provide financial resources to the relief efforts from the devastating Maui wildfires.

“I appreciate coach (Tom) Izzo and Michigan State for hosting this game, which will benefit a community that means so much to the world of college basketball,” Vols coach Rick Barnes said in a school release. “While we certainly need to continue to pray for the families in Maui who have been impacted, this benefit game will enable us to offer tangible support toward the restoration of Maui and its beautiful spirit.”

Ticket information and tipoff time at MSU’s Breslin Center will be announced at a later date. The Vols and Spartans originally agreed to a closed-door scrimmage at MSU’s Breslin Center. The teams played a closed scrimmage at Thompson-Boling Arena in October 2022.

Izzo indicated that UT and MSU discussed the pivot to a charity exhibition to “honor the city of Lahaina” and help its residents after the city was destroyed by wildfires in early August. The Maui Invitational takes places in Lahaina annually and UT is slated to take part in the event in November for the fourth time in program history.

“The Maui Invitational and the city of Lahaina have always held a special place in my heart,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said in a statement. “The images we’ve all seen and the stories we’ve heard following the wildfires have touched so many of us in the college basketball world and I know that our thoughts and prayers are with all of those who have been affected.”

UT played an exhibition for charity against Gonzaga prior to the 2022-23 season. The Vols won 99-80 in Frisco, Texas, against the Bulldogs. Proceeds of that game will benefit the McLendon Foundation, which works to empower and develop minorities desiring to be leaders in athletics administration.

The Vols played Michigan State a week prior to its game against Gonzaga in the closed-door scrimmage. The Vols are 2-5 against Michigan State in regular-season meetings and have lost three straight games. UT lost to the Spartans 70-69 in the 2010 Elite 8, its only Elite 8 appearance in program history.

Tennessee opens the regular season against Tennessee Tech on Nov. 6 at Thompson-Boling Arena. UT recently returned from a 10-day trip to Italy during which it won three games against international competition.

Mike Wilson covers University of Tennessee athletics. Email him at michael.wilson@knoxnews.com and follow him on Twitter @ByMikeWilson. If you enjoy Mike’s coverage, consider a digital subscription that will allow you access to all of it