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You can safely surmise that new Detroit Mercy men's basketball coach Mike Davis didn't have total authority when putting together the Titans' 2018 nonconference schedule.

After all, the Titans have home games — and Davis much prefers road games, to toughen up his teams as it enters the gauntlet of conference play. Last season at Texas Southern, Davis' team opened with 13 games on the road, lost them all, but eventually won the SWAC tournament and made the NCAA Tournament.

Detroit Mercy released its nonconference slate Friday, and its heavy on old Horizon League rivals such as Butler, Dayton and Xavier.

The Titans open with four road games, at Western Michigan, Temple, Butler and California, the Temple and California games part of the Legends Classic. Detroit Mercy then returns home for two games in the Legends Classic, against Loyola-Maryland and then either a consolation or championship game.

Here's the complete nonconference schedule: at Western Michigan (Nov. 6), at Temple (Nov. 9), at Butler (Nov. 12), at California (Nov. 15), vs. Loyola-Maryland (Nov. 19), Legends Classic consolation or championship (Nov. 20), at Eastern Michigan (Nov. 24), vs. Kent State (Nov. 28), at Akron (Dec. 1), at Dayton (Dec. 4), at Toledo (Dec. 5), vs. Ohio (Dec. 15), and at Xavier (Dec. 21).

Detroit Mercy was 8-23 in 2016-17 and 8-24 in 2017-18, leading to the firing of coach Bacari Alexander after just two seasons.

Davis, 57, the former head coach at Indiana, UAB and Texas Southern, was hired in June after an exhaustive, months-long search by athletic director Robert Vowels. Davis will have his challenges, given the exodus of key players via eligibility exhaustion, professional pursuits and transfers, the latter category including Corey Allen.

Football notables

►Wayne State football was picked to finish tied for fourth in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, in voting by the league's head coaches. Grand Valley State is picked to win, Ferris State second, Ashland third. Wayne State, Northwood and Saginaw Valley State are tied for fourth, Northern Michigan seventh, Michigan Tech eighth and Davenport ninth. The league is at nine teams, with Tiffin leaving for the Great Midwest Athletic Conference.

In more Wayne State football news, head coach Paul Winters named Chris Calley his new wide-receivers coach. Calley comes to Wayne State after three years at small colleges, following a stint coaching at Chandler Park Academy in Harper Woods.

Calley also has coached at Adrian, his alma mater.

►Central Michigan football and New Mexico State have signed a home-and-home contract, with the teams playing in Mount Pleasant on Oct. 12, 2019, and in Las Cruces, N.M., on Sept. 5, 2026. The contract replaces Central Michigan's voided contract with South Florida. These will be the first meetings between the schools.

This and that

►Former Michigan women's basketball standout Jenny Ryan is returning as a graduate assistant under coach Kim Barnes Arico. Ryan played for the Wolverines from 2010-13, and graduated as the program's all-time leader in games (130) and minutes (4,558), second in assists (489). She is working on a master's in sport management.

►Eastern Michigan E-Club Hall-of-Famer Laurie (Leonhardt) Hubbard died July 28, at the age of 59. She was a standout swimmer from 1977-81, winning individual events in the MAC championships and three relays her senior season. Recently, she was a member of the university's Champions Advisory Board.

►Stephen Saenz, who competed in the shot put for Mexico in the 2012 Olympics and is a five-time Mexico national champion, has joined the Central Michigan track-and-field program as its throws coach.

►Western Michigan's football Fan Fest is Saturday, Aug. 11, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Waldo Stadium. Admission is free and open to the public, and coincides with the summer scrimmage.

►Western Michigan men's soccer is holding open tryouts at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 29, at the Soccer Complex. Details can be found HERE.

►Michigan State men's soccer is hosting its first Moonlight Madness to kick off practice at 12:01 Wednesday morning. There will be contests and prizes for fans.

►In Oakland news: Katrina Brumfield has been named head coach of the men's and women's track teams, while tennis has added Michigan State transfer Ava Thielman.

►Wayne State's female and male athletes of the year are senior hurdler Karrington Seals and senior fencer Ziad Elsissy, respectively.

►Eastern Michigan named Gretchen Buskirk associate athletics director of sports medicine. She comes from the University of Toledo.

tpaul@detroitnews.com

twitter.com/tonypaul1984

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