Credit: Olympia Development

A report surfaced late on Monday that there is a scheduled college basketball doubleheader to take place at the new Little Caesars Arena some time next season. The games will reportedly feature the Big Ten’s Michigan and Michigan State, and the Horizon’s Oakland and Detroit Mercy.

A formal announcement was made Tuesday morning by Olympia Entertainment, a joint conference featuring all four coaches — Michigan State’s Tom Izzo, Michigan’s John Beilein, Oakland’s Greg Kampe and Detroit’s Bacari Alexander.

LIVE: Olympia Entertainment is expected to announce a college basketball double header that will happen in mid-December. http://bit.ly/2qaDVA6

Posted by FOX 2 Detroit on Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The initial report was made public late on Monday with word of the formal announcement, joined by the coaches of the respective teams, coming on Tuesday.

Olympia Entertainment president and CEO Tom Wilson added that the event, slated for December 16, will be a single-ticket admission for both games.

It will be the first set of college basketball games played at the new venue, a nice appetizer to when LCA hosts first- and second-round games of the 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament next March.

The long list of events being booked for LCA continues. It was just last week when the NCAA announced that the new arena in downtown Detroit would host multiple big-time college events in the future, namely the 2020 Frozen Four and first weekend games for the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. And NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has also said that holding All-Star festivities at Little Caesars Arena is in the works.

NCAA Basketball: Georgia at Oakland
Dec 23, 2016; Rochester, MI, USA; Oakland Golden Grizzlies head coach Greg Kampe during the game against the Georgia Bulldogs at Athletics Center O’rena. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

THE RIVALRY CONTINUES

The latest chapter in the friendly rivalry between Izzo and Kampe will continue and transition to Little Caesars Arena. Michigan State and Oakland have played 15 times since the 1998 season, with all 15 games going in favor of the Spartans.

Of the previous meetings, four of them were played on a ‘neutral floor’, all of which were played at The Palace of Auburn Hills, just up the road from Oakland University. The last such neutral-court game was in December of 2015, when the then top-ranked Spartans survived a scare from the Kay Felder-led Golden Grizzlies, 99-93 in overtime.

RIVALRY RENEWED, WITH A TWIST

On the other side of the docket, we see Michigan playing Detroit Mercy. It seems just like any other ordinary in-state, early-season hoops game, but now there is an added wrinkle to the fold.

Photo Credit: MGoBlog/Flickr

Detroit head coach Bacari Alexander, who will be entering his second season with the Titans, will square off with his former boss in John Beilein. Alexander served as an assistant under Beilein at Michigan from 2010-16 before taking the open coaching position at Mercy in April of 2016.

The Titans mustered just an 8-23 record overall, and will surely be looking to improve from that mark. This could very well be an regular thing between Michigan and Detroit, if not every year.

The two programs played sporadically between 1958-84 before playing annually during the 90’s. They have played just twice since the turn of the century, most recently in 2014, a 71-62 win in favor of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Overall, the Wolverines lead the all-time series head-to-head, 23-4.

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