The first college basketball game at Little Caesars Arena will be Michigan against Detroit Mercy on Dec. 16. It’s the first game of a doubleheader that will be followed by Michigan State against Oakland University.
EAST LANSING – The tipoff times and TV broadcast details for the District Detroit College Basketball Showcase were announced quietly Tuesday.
And Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis is not happy about what he heard.
The Spartans will face Oakland at 4 p.m. on Dec. 16 at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. Michigan and Detroit Mercy will play the matinee game at 1:30.
The Lions host the Bears at Ford Field in NFL action a half hour after the Spartans and Golden Grizzles tip off, with a 4:30 p.m. kickoff.
“It’s disappointing,” Hollis told the Free Press on Wednesday. “While there’s so many things that we’ve done with our TV partners, including ESPN, this is one that is just disappointing for such a monumental weekend for college basketball, that building and the city of Detroit.”
Game times were set through the Horizon League’s TV deal with ESPN because Oakland and UD Mercy are the home teams, and Hollis said they were out of the schools’ control. The MSU-Oakland game on ESPN2, while the Michigan-Detroit game will be shown on ESPNU.
Greg Kampe, Oakland’s coach, agreed with Hollis about the timing conflict with what he called “such a big game for Oakland.” He hopes the issue can be resolved.
“I would much rather not be playing the game while the Lions are playing,” Kampe said. “I think there’s still some leeway in it, but I don’t know for sure. … I do think it’s September, and they had to get the game times out and TV locked in, so we got all that. And now, if it can be tweaked, I think that the people that are running this are very smart people. They’re gonna do everything they can to make this work. All avenues will be explored to make it work.”
Hollis said the inaugural tournament was meant to be a celebration of the city and its basketball heritage when it was created. The date for the event, announced April 25, had been set before the NFL schedules were released April 20. It was believed the TV networks would be able…