U of M, MSU to inaugurate basketball at Little Caesars Arena

John Beilein and Tom Izzo
Left to right: Coaches John Beilein and Tom Izzo speak about their teams playing at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit.

DETROIT (AP) — Little Caesars Arena is set for its college basketball debut, with Michigan facing Detroit and Michigan State playing Oakland.

Olympia Entertainment President Tom Wilson said Tuesday the four schools will play Dec. 16.

Little Caesars Arena, Irwin Seating
Chairs built by Irwin Seating of Grand Rapids are installed at the new Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. (March 15, 2017)

The Wolverines and Titans will play first, just as they did in Joe Louis Arena’s first event in 1979, and the Spartans and Golden Grizzlies will follow.

Detroit and Oakland will also play in the same arena next March in the Horizon League Tournament, with all four teams trying to return for the NCAA Tournament.

Michigan State coach Tom Izzo hopes the Big Ten chooses to play a men’s basketball tournament in the Motor City, which is midway between the conference’s most distant schools — Nebraska and Rutgers.