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New Ohio State Head Coach Chris Holtmann Brings Up Playing In-State Teams

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In an interview with local reporters, Chris Holtmann was asked about playing in-state teams like Xavier, Dayton and Cincinnati. Those are three teams that the Buckeyes just never seem to play – playing regular season games against Xavier last in 1935, Dayton in 1988 and Cincinnati in 2006.

Here’s what Holtmann had to say:

“We’ve engaged in some of those conversations. I’ve talked to (Athletic Director) Gene Smith about it. By no means am I sitting back here saying we’re not going to play one of those programs because those are quality programs you mentioned. Part of our job is to provide a game that’s exciting for our fans. We’re working on some things. It’s probably, in terms of a final decision, a ways off, but I’m certainly open to it.”

More importantly the other idea he brought up was similar to the Crossroads Classic that he was a part of while at Butler. The Crossroads Classic is played in Indianapolis featuring Purdue, Butler, Indiana and Notre Dame. Now, the difference between that and him now at Ohio State is a couple of different things.

First, Ohio State is supposed to be big brother in football and basketball. They are the state school, they have a good basketball history and should be favored almost every year against these guys. Losing to one of these schools isn’t a bad loss, but within the state is perceived as such. While he was at Butler, he was the ‘little brother’ in the sense that Butler is always viewed as the up and coming mid major, despite being consistent and being in the Big East.

The second part is the fact there’s not a great place to play what would be the ‘Buckeye Classic.’ The beauty of the Crossroads Classic is it’s held at a basketball dedicated arena in Indianapolis. Despite Butler being located in Indianapolis it never felt like a true home court advantage for the Bulldogs. The only basketball dedicated arena in Ohio is the Q in Cleveland, which is away from all four schools. The other option would be to play at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, but playing in a hockey arena just doesn’t have the same feel, despite it being in the central part of the state and Ohio State being more inclined to say yes to this. The last option would be US Bank in Cincinnati, but that place is a shit hole and shouldn’t host this at all.

That said, Holtmann seems to be open to the idea of playing at least one of these guys, if not setting up the event. As someone who lives in the area and loves known teams playing out of conference, I applaud Holtmann for this. We’ll see what happens as we won’t see any results for this for at least two years, but if you see Ohio State starting to improve under Holtmann, this could get done sooner than later.