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College notes: Detroit Mercy salvages game with Kentucky; Horizon League polls out

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Detroit — It's been a slow trickle on the men's college-basketball scheduling front, as programs try to pick up the pieces on nonconference slates blown up by COVID-19.

Detroit Mercy was able to salvage at least one big game, announcing Friday it will play an MTE (multi-team event) at powerhouse Kentucky and historic Rupp Arena.

The Titans will open the season Wedenesday, Nov. 25, against Richmond, then play Kentucky on Friday Nov. 27 in a 9 p.m. game on SEC Network. Detroit Mercy plays Morehead State on Sunday, Nov. 29.

Antoine Davis

The Kentucky game has been a highly anticipated game in Detroit Mercy circles, as it pits Detroit Mercy graduate senior Brad Calipari against his famous father, Kentucky head coach John Calipari. Brad averaged 6.1 points in 27 games for Detroit Mercy last season, his first with the Titans after transferring from Kentucky. He led the team by shooting 38% from 3-point range.

Fans will be allowed to attend, but right now, they're limited to season ticket-holders.

Oakland's MTE will be at Xavier, with Oakland and Xavier playing at noon Wednesday, Nov. 25 — on national television, and the first game of the college basketball season. Also in that field are Bradley and Toledo.

Oakland continues to try and salvage games against Michigan and Michigan State. The annual game against the Spartans still seems likely, but the series revival against the Wolverines is in jeopardy; it was scheduled for Dec. 21, but now the Horizon League starts its conference portion of the season two days earlier.

Polls, polls, polls

The Horizon League announced its conference schedules earlier this week, and then followed with its preseason polls.

On the men's side, Oakland (14-19 last season) is picked to finish sixth in the conference, which is up to 12 teams with the additions of Robert Morris and IPFW. Detroit Mercy (8-23 last season) is picked to finish ninth, and Titans star Antoine Davis is a preseason first-team selection. Wright State, Youngstown State and Northern Kentucky are picked to finish first, second and third, respectively.

With the women, Oakland (11-19) is picked ninth and Detroit Mercy (3-27), under new coach AnnMarie Gilbert, is picked 10th. IUPUI, Green Bay and Wright State are 1-2-3.

A new rivalry

Reyna Frost and Presley Hudson were teammates and stars during Central Michigan's most-celebrated run in program history, leading the Chippewas to two NCAA Tournaments and a Sweet 16 appearance in 2018.

Now, they're rivals.

Frost has joined Central Michigan coach Heather Oesterle's staff as director of player development, and Hudson has joined Western Michigan coach Shane Clipfell's staff as director of player development and basketball operations. For both players, the jobs are relatively close to home, with Frost from Reese, and Hudson from Wayland.

Frost, a forward, was 12th in NCAA history with 1,526 rebounds, and is the fourth-leading scorer in Central Michigan history with 1,794 points. Hudson, a guard, is the Chippewas' leading scorer in points (2,309), assists (643) and 3-pointers made (407).

This and that

►The Western Michigan-Central Michigan football game will be on ESPN2 at 7 p.m. Nov. 18. The game will be played in Mount Pleasant; it was supposed to be played at Detroit's Ford Field in October, until COVID-19 messed with the season.

►Western Michigan men's basketball will open the season Nov. 25 at Butler, in Clayton Bates' debut as head coach. He took over for Steve Hawkins, who was fired after last season, his 18th leading the Broncos.

►In other men's hoops scheduling news, the Mid-American Conference moved a handful of games from early March to December, to avoid a deluge of games before the MAC tournament. Among the games moved: Toledo at Eastern Michigan (now Dec. 4) and Central Michigan at Western Michigan (now Dec. 22). 

►The Horizon League will have a new commissioner Jan. 1, with Jonathan B. LeCone, the commissioner since 1992, handing the reigns to Julie Roe Lach, who has been the league's deputy commissioner since 2014.

Twitter: @tonypaul1984