The Historic Oakland vs. MSU Rivalry

Saturday, December 28

By: Ryan Taegel

Detroit – Tom Izzo knows someday Oakland will beat Michigan State in basketball. He said it himself. Saturday was not someday.

In front of a sold out, predominately green and white crowd, MSU pummeled the Golden Grizzlies 72-49 at Little Caesars Arena. The lose now dropping Oakland to 0-18 in the series. 

For better or worse, Oakland has made it an expectation to compete against the Spartans on a neutral court. In 2015, an overmatched Grizzlies team took No. 1 ranked MSU to overtime at the Palace. But Greg Kampe is still missing that coveted victory over Izzo. 

‘I’m not trying to beat Tom,” a disappointed Kampe said postgame. “Oakland tries to beat Michigan State. Tom coaches that team and I coach Oakland’s team. We try to beat each other.”

The Grizzlies were never a thought in this game. Oakland shot just 22 percent in the first half were they went to the break down 34-19. State then opened the flood gates throughout the second half at one point grabbing a 29-point lead. 

This speaks to the quality of the 15th ranked Spartans. Cassius Winston shot just 1-9 from behind the arch. Many of them being great looks, but MSU was able to use an interior advantage on both sides of the court to put a physical stronghold on the game. 

“They’re a good defensive team,” Kampe said. “It was a very physical game and we lost that battle inside. We score at the rim with our bigs and there was a lot of contact, a lot of physical play down there and it was called consistently. But for any way for us to beat Michigan State fouls were going to have to be called.”

Oakland will have more shots at the Spartans in years to come. The two schools signed a six-year contract extension this summer for these programs to continue to meet annually at LCA. Something that Izzo is grateful for. 

“Our crowd was so good and it was good to see however many people were here,” Izzo said. “It’s great to have Spartans here that don’t get to see us play, so I’m appreciative of the arena and what they’ve done, of Greg and what he’s done and just to keep this thing going a little bit because it’s great to be down in Detroit.” 

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