Michigan State, Oakland extend men's basketball series for six years

Tony Paul
The Detroit News
"I'm extremely excited for this series to continue," Oakland Golden Grizzlies head coach Greg Kampe says.

Detroit — The Palace is no more, but the series will continue.

Michigan State and Oakland men's basketball announced Wednesday that the programs have agreed to a six-year deal to extend the long-term series.

The series will alternate yearly between Little Caesars Arena in downtown Detroit, and Breslin Center in East Lansing.

The first game will be at LCA on Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019. The game will allow Michigan State star senior guard Cassius Winston to play in his hometown one more time.

"I'm extremely excited for this series to continue," Oakland coach Greg Kampe said. "MSU is a gold standard in college basketball."

There had been some doubt in recent years if the series would, or could, continue, given Michigan State and the Big Ten have gone to a 20-game conference schedule, leaving fewer opportunities for critical home nonconference games.

The schools have been negotiating an extension for the past several months.

Michigan State and Oakland first met in 1998, and have played each of the past seven seasons, and 13 of the last 14 seasons.

Oakland is 0-17 all-time in the series, but several of the games have been thrillers, none more than Michigan State's 99-93 overtime win at The Palace in December 2015. Michigan State also has a one-point win and two four-point wins in the series.

In recent years, the Michigan State-Oakland series has been a draw for fans, too. The teams met in Game 2 of a doubleheader at Little Caesars Arena in 2017, and drew a sellout crowd. The earlier game, Michigan-Detroit Mercy, drew barely half as many.

The 2015 game at The Palace was the highest-rated game on ESPNU that year.

"This has been a great rivalry and I'm glad that we're going to continue the series," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. "I have a lot of respect for Greg (Kampe) and his program and what he has done at Oakland. We have had a lot of competitive and hard-fought games against them and it's a game that can bring out the best in both teams."

Ticket, tip-off and television information for the December game at LCA will be announced at a later date.

Future games in the series will be at LCA in 2021 and 2023, and at Breslin Center in 2020, 2022 and 2024.


Twitter: @tonypaul1984