For the fourth time in seven years, the Hillsdale College men's basketball team will open a season with an exhibition game against a Big Ten opponent.
And for the second time in that span, that opponent is Michigan State University.
The Chargers will head to the Jack Breslin Student Events Center to take on the Spartans on Friday, November 3. Ticket information and tip-off time will be released at a later date. Typically, Hillsdale fans will have access to a limited number of tickets for that game. Once that information is available, it will be added to this release.
Chargers head coach John Tharp said he was thrilled that his team has an opportunity to play in a Big Ten venue against one of college basketball's most consistently excellent programs.
"I am very appreciative of coach (Tom) Izzo for giving us this fantastic opportunity," Tharp said. "Obviously the challenge of playing a top-three team in the nation that can win a national championship will be quite an experience for our young men."
During Tharp's tenure, Hillsdale has played exhibition games against Michigan State (2011-12), Indiana University (2013-14) and the University of Michigan (2014-15).
The teams last met on November 4, 2011, with Michigan State defeating Hillsdale 80-58. Current professional player Nick Washburn led the Chargers in scoring that night with 14 points. Two-time NBA champion Draymond Green had 15 points, 9 rebounds and 3 steals for MSU in that contest.
That Hillsdale team would go on to win the 2012 GLIAC regular season championship, played for the conference tournament title, and advanced to the NCAA Division II Regional Tournament. Spartans coach Tom Izzo came onto the Charger bus after the game and complimented the team on how well it played, and told them to go win the conference. Which it did. Hillsdale was the 2011-12 GLIAC regular season champions, hosted the conference tournament and earned a berth in the 2012 NCAA Division II Men's Basketball Regional Tournament.
This year, Hillsdale returns all but two players to its 2017-18 roster, including all three starting backcourt players: Ryan Badowski, Stedman Lowry and Nate Neveau. The Chargers begin a new era in their history this season, competing in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference for the first time.
The Chargers-Spartans game will be MSU's second exhibition game against a Division II program in Michigan. Michigan State will host Ferris State – Hillsdale's last GLIAC Tournament opponent – on Oct. 26.