Little Caesars Arena will host a college basketball doubleheader Dec. 16. The University of Detroit Mercy will face the University of Michigan in the opening tilt, while Oakland University and Michigan State University will clash directly afterward.

Little Caesars Arena will host a college basketball doubleheader Dec. 16. The University of Detroit Mercy will face the University of Michigan in the opening tilt, while Oakland University and Michigan State University will clash directly afterward.

Photo courtesy of Olympia Entertainment


Little Caesars Arena set to host local college hoops doubleheader

By: Timothy Pontzer | C&G Newspapers | Published December 8, 2017

DETROIT — College basketball fans will descend on downtown Detroit’s newest sporting landmark as the Horizon League will take on the Big Ten in an in-state doubleheader.

The Hitachi College Basketball Showcase in the District Detroit will take place Dec. 16 at Little Caesars Arena, featuring a clash between the University of Detroit Mercy and the University of Michigan at noon, followed by Oakland University battling Michigan State University at 2:30 p.m.

The first matchup will be the inaugural college hoops contest in the new arena. It serves as a callback to when the Titans and Wolverines met at Joe Louis Arena on Dec. 12, 1979, in what was the first-ever event for the facility.

Michigan leads the all-time series between the two schools 24-4. The first game took place in 1919 with a 39-18 U-M victory. Detroit Mercy last garnered a victory against the Wolverines in 1981, winning 55-51. The last time the sides met was in 2014 at the Crisler Center in Ann Arbor, with the home team posting a 71-62 decision.

At press time, Michigan held a 7-3 record while Detroit Mercy had a 4-4 mark.

The game will feature talent from the local coverage area, especially on the Titans roster. Jermaine Jackson Jr., Tariq Jones and Jack Ballantyne all played their prep ball at Macomb Dakota. Jacob Joubert hails from North Farmington, and Musial Gysma went to Sterling Heights High.

In the second game, the Golden Grizzlies and Spartans will play for the 16th time overall. Michigan State has won each contest in the series, but the last meeting was close, as Oakland took then-No. 1 MSU to overtime before falling 99-93 at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

At press time, OU held a 5-3 mark while MSU was 8-1 and ranked No. 3 overall in the country.

While Oakland plays its home games in Rochester Hills, none of the members of the roster are products of high schools in the coverage area. Their opponent will employ a pair, as Southfield Christian’s Brock Washington and Warren Mott’s Kenny Goins will suit up for the Spartans.

This even serves as a precursor to several college basketball events that Little Caesars Arena will host. The 2018 Horizon League men’s and women’s basketball championships, dubbed “Motor City Madness,” will decide the conference’s bid to the NCAA Tournament March 2-6.

Additionally, the arena is hosting first- and second-round contests of the 2018 NCAA men’s basketball tournament March 16 and 18.

Tickets for the Hitachi College Basketball Showcase can be purchased at 313presents.com, ticketmaster.com and by phone at (800) 745-3000. Admission is good for both games. Large crowds are expected in the area, as the Detroit Lions will host the Chicago Bears that afternoon as well.

For live updates from the game, follow @CandGSports.