New Ohio State coach open to idea of playing other top Ohio schools

Chris Holtmann says final decision about playing Dayton, Cincinnati or Xavier a ways off

Ohio State Buckeyes men’s basketball coach Chris Holtmann would not be opposed to playing the likes of the Dayton Flyers, Xavier Musketeers and Cincinnati Bearcats on his non-conference schedule.

Holtmann fielded a question from a fan about scheduling those three programs on Tuesday night during an event with season-ticket holders at the Schottenstein Center.

“We’ve engaged in some of those conversations,” Holtmann said. “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.”

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Ohio State has not played Dayton in the regular season since December 1988. The teams played a four-game series between 1985 and 1988 with two games at St. John Arena and two games at UD Arena. The teams split the four games.

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The Flyers beat the Buckeyes in the first round of the NCAA tournament in 2014.

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Ohio State last played Xavier in the regular season in 1935. The teams played in the NIT in 1984 and the NCAA tournament in 2007.

Ohio State played Cincinnati in the regular season in December 2006 in Indianapolis, and the teams played in the NCAA tournament in 2012.

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Holtmann, who was hired in June to replace Thad Matta, had success with Butler in the Crossroads Classic in Indianapolis. The annual four-team event features Butler, Indiana, Purdue and Notre Dame.

“I liked that,” Holtmann said. “I give Indiana a lot of credit, as well as Purdue, for playing in that event. You probably have a little more to lose if you’re sitting in that seat."

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