Spartans will play Grand Valley State in Grand Rapids on Nov. 1.
EAST LANSING, Mich. â€“ The Michigan State menâ€™s basketball teamâ€™s first game of the season will be an exhibition contest against Grand Valley State at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids on Nov. 1. Tickets are still available for the contest through all Ticketmaster outlets, including www.ticketmaster.com, with different pricing options at $13, $21 and $29. Fans can also purchase tickets at the Van Andel Arena and DeVos Place box offices.
Last season, Michigan State defeated Arkansas-Little Rock, 72-67, at Van Andel Arena in front of a sold-out crowd on Dec. 1, 2005. "Playing in Grand Rapids last season was a great experience, and we are excited to have the opportunity to do it again," said MSU head coach Tom Izzo. "Itâ€™s a great chance to play in front of some very loyal fans that may not have the opportunity to watch us in the Breslin Center. I know that both Drew Neitzel and Drew Naymick enjoyed playing closer to home in front of a large number of family and friends. Add a quality Grand Valley State team, and it promises to be an exciting exhibition."Michigan State finished last season with a 22-12 mark and advanced to its ninth-straight NCAA Tournament. The Spartans are led by junior guard and Grand Rapids native Drew Neitzel (Wyoming Park High School). He tied for the league lead in assists in conference games (5.56 apg), led the league in assist-to-turnover ratio and started every game as a sophomore. He is MSUâ€™s leading returning scorer, having averaged 8.3 points last season. MSU also features another West Michigan product, junior center Drew Naymick from North Muskegon High School. He started the first seven games last season before sitting out the rest of the year allowing a shoulder injury to heal.Grand Valley State finished the 2005-06 season with a 27-4 mark and ranked #4 in the final DII Basketball Coaches poll. The Lakers captured both the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference regular season and tournament titles en route to its first NCAA DII Great Lakes Regional appearance since the 2000-01 campaign. GVSU head coach Ric Wesley welcomes back four starters and 10 letterwinners to the mix for the 2006-07 season. In addition, the Lakers return six of their top seven scorers and seven players that averaged 14 minutes of game action or more."We really appreciate Michigan State giving us this opportunity," commented Grand Valley State head coach Ric Wesley. "Coach Izzo has one the premier programs in America and it is a real thrill for our team to be able to play Michigan State in a wonderful venue like Van Andel Arena. This will be a great way to kick off the basketball season in West Michigan."COURTESY OF MATT LARSON THE MSU SID