Return to St. John Arena part of Ohio State’s nonconference basketball schedule

Ohio State basketball finalized its nonconference schedule Tuesday, announcing an intriguing slate for Chris Holtmann’s second year as coach of the Buckeyes.

The season begins Nov. 7 at Cincinnati, where the Bearcats will be opening their newly renovated home arena after a year of playing their “home” games at Northern Kentucky.

Ohio State hasn’t played at UC since 1920, and games between the Buckeyes and Bearcats on the hardwood have been few and far between in the last 56 years since UC upset Ohio State in back-to-back national championship games during the otherwise glorious Jerry Lucas era.

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This game was originally announced last fall as part of a home-and-home arrangement.

“We are excited about the challenge of this nonconference schedule,” Holtmann said in a release. “Our hope is that it prepares us for the grind of a 20-game Big Ten season. We believe the schedule includes many exciting matchups that will be tremendous tests and games ‘Buckeye Nation’ will enjoy.”

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The UC matchup is one of three games Ohio State will play against a team from Ohio. The Buckeyes will play host to Cleveland State on Nov. 23 and Youngstown State on Dec. 18.

The game against the Vikings will be played at historic St. John Arena, the first contest for the men’s team at its former home since December 2010.

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Including the Bearcats, Ohio State’s nonconference slate has four teams that made the NCAA tournament last spring.

The Buckeyes play at Creighton on Nov. 15, host Syracuse on Nov. 28 and play UCLA in Chicago on Dec. 22.

Ohio State’s home opener is scheduled for Nov. 11 at Value City Arena against Purdue University-Fort Wayne.

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