For first time in nearly a decade, Oakland will play Michigan in men's hoops

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Greg Kampe's been working on this for years, and it's finally about to come to fruition.

Oakland will play Michigan again in men's basketball, with the schools agreeing to a one-year deal, with a game set for Monday, Dec. 21, at Crisler Center. Oakland will receive about $90,000, though the contract hasn't yet been released publicly.

Greg Kampe

It'll be the first meeting between the schools since 2011. Michigan leads the all-time series, 7-1.

"Hopefully this will be the beginning of something that is a long-term relationship," Kampe said. "Personally, I would like to play Michigan every year, but I think this is a step in the right direction."

Oakland played Michigan four times from 2007-11, when Michigan was coached by John Beilein, but Beilein canceled the series and never got it going again.

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When Juwan Howard got the job last year, after Beilein left for his ill-fated stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers, the schools started talking again, but were unable to get something on the schedule last season.

This time, it worked out.

It's a one-year deal for now, though Kampe would like to see something long-term like what Oakland has with Michigan State — a multi-year series with the games alternating between East Lansing and a neutral site, now Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, and formerly The Palace of Auburn Hills. Oakland and Michigan State are entering Year 2 of a new six-year contract. They've played each of the last eight years, 13 of the last 14.

"I talked to him about that, but they weren't ready to commit to that at this time," Kampe said. "They did say they would thinking about it.

"Hopefully they value this after the game.

"You gotta start somewhere, and this is a start."

Oakland's lone win against Michigan was 97-90 on Nov. 17, 2000, the one time the schools played on Oakland's Rochester campus.

The game marks the third Big Ten opponent on Oakland's 2021-22 schedule. The Golden Grizzlies will travel to Ohio State for the season opener Wednesday, Nov. 11, then will play at Michigan State either Nov. 13, 14 or 15, working around MSU's football schedule. The Spartans are at Penn State that weekend, assuming coronavirus doesn't wipe out sports this fall and winter, too.

Twitter: @tonypaul1984