Oakland Golden Grizzlies to host MSU on Dec. 4 at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit


DETROIT (CCN) — Oakland University college basketball returns to Little Caesars Arena in Detroit on Dec. 14 when the Golden Grizzlies host Michigan State's Spartans.

It's the second meeting between them at the home of the Detroit Pistons and Red Wings in the past three years since the facility opened. The two schools also announced that it's the first game in a six-game series they've signed. Three games will be hosted by Oakland and three games will be at the Breslin Center in East Lansing.  MSU is 17-0 all-time in match-ups between the programs, and won in a 99-69 romp last season at MSU.

OU gave the Spartans a scare in their first battle at LCA in front of 20,695 fans. The Spartans eventually prevailed by an 86-73 margin but Coach Greg Kampe's Golden Grizzlies gave MSU all it wanted.

"I am extremely excited for this series to continue," Kampe said. "MSU is a gold standard in college basketball. With the Big Ten's 20-game conference schedule, it would have been easy for MSU to end the series, so I appreciate MSU and Tom (Izzo) for continuing it. The largest single-game regular season basketball crowd in Palace history was Oakland-MSU and it was the highest-rated game on ESPNU that year. The largest college basketball crowd ever at Little Caesars Arena was our game with Michigan State in 2017. I know both fan bases will come out in full force."

Izzo said he is looking forward to continuing the non-conference rivalry with OU. "I love our team having a chance to play in Detroit and at a great venue like Little Caesars Arena," he said. "This will be special for Cassius Winston to play in his hometown as a senior and it's a great opportunity for Spartan alumni in Detroit to come see us play.  This has been a great rivalry and I'm glad that we're going to continue the series.  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."

Michigan Wolverines announce 11-game non-conference hoops schedule


ANN ARBOR (CCN) — New basketball boss Juan Howard now knows what his first team's non-conference schedule looks like after 11 games were revealed. Times are expected to be announced his mid-September for the TV games.  "These 11 games gives us not only 11 opportunities to grow and get better as team, but it also helps to face several high-caliber opponents prior getting into the Big Ten schedule," Howard said.

The Juwan Howard era opens with UM's lone exhibition game against Saginaw Valley State on Nov. 1. It will be the first of four straight home contests at Crisler Center, followed by the regular season opener against Appalachian State on Nov. 5. UM plays Creighton on Nov. 12 in a 2019 Gavitt Tipoff Games matchup — the  annual eight-game battle between the Big Ten and the Big East. Up next at Crisler Center will be games against Elon on Nov. 15 and Houston Baptist on Nov. 22.

The Wolverines then make their first road trip for the Battle 4 Atlantis over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in the Bahamas. Alabama, Iowa State, Gonzaga, North Carolina, Oregon, Seton Hall and Southern Miss are the others headed there with the brackets not yet set.

The Maize and Blue get back to action on the mainland when closing out the November schedule with a trip to Louisville in the 2019 ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

When the calendar turns to December, UM will interrupt its non-conference slate to play a pair of Big Ten contests in early December. One will be at home and one on the road but Big Ten details and opponents won't be released until at least mid-August.

The Wolverines then host Oregon for the first time on Dec. 14. They go to Eugene next season for a return game when traveling there for the first time in program history.  Michigan then closes out the 2019 portion of its schedule by hosting Presbyterian College on Dec. 21 and UMass Lowell on Dec. 29.

Jay Smith tabbed by Juwan Howard to return to UM basketball coaching staff


ANN ARBOR (CCN) — Jay Smith is returning to the college basketball coaching staff at the University of Michigan. 

New Coach Juwan Howard made the announcement Monday that he has hire Smith to be UM's director of player personnel and development. Smith spent seven seasons with the Wolverines as an assistant coach on Steve Fisher's staff, including the 1990-91 campaign when helping to recruit UM's Fab Five class that included Howard,  Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson. All but Jackson made it to the NBA and Smith also helped recruit and coach college All-Americans Rumeal Robinson, Loy Vaught and Terry Mills at Michigan.

"There are many people who have helped me throughout my career; however, Jay Smith is someone special who I have a deep connection with and the utmost respect for," Howard said in a statement. "He has such an incredible passion for the game and his ability to relate with young men is going to be something invaluable for us. We are very fortunate to have him return to Ann Arbor and join our staff."

After leaving UM's staff in 1996, Smith became head coach at Grand Valley State for one season and then moved on to Mount Pleasant where he led the Chippewas from the 1998-99 campaign until the 2005-06 season.  After a 23-6 campaign at Division II Grand Valley State, Smith's college coaching record at CMU was a lowly 95-160. He spent eight years as an assistant at the University of Detroit Mercy after being fired at CMU.  Smith had a 22-52 record as head coach for the past three years at Kalamazoo College in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association.