The second season for Chris Holtmann, Ohio State head coach, begins officially with the Buckeyes taking on intrastate rival Cincinnati on the road Nov. 7. That game vs. the Bearcats along with several other marquee opponents and the new 20-game Big Ten Conference regular-season schedule will give the Buckeyes one of the strongest non-conference and overall schedules in the program’s history.
Four of Ohio State’s 2018 non-conference opponents played in the NCAA Tournament last season. Cincinnati made it to the Second Round before falling to Nevada 78-73. Creighton lost its opening round game to Kansas State 69-59. Syracuse, who knocked off Texas Christian University and Michigan State, advanced to the Midwest Regional semifinals before falling to Duke 69-65. UCLA played in the First Four games in Dayton, Ohio, and fell to St. Bonaventure 65-58.
Ohio State’s home opener will be against Purdue University Fort Wayne Nov. 11 at Value City Arena. The Buckeyes will then travel to face Creighton Nov. 15 to participate in the 2018 Gavitt Games (Big Ten vs. Big East) before returning home for games against South Carolina State Nov. 18, Samford Nov. 20 and a throw-back game at legendary St. John Arena the day after Thanksgiving against Cleveland State Nov. 23. Ohio State plays host to the University of Michigan in football Nov. 24. The games against Purdue University Fort Wayne, South Carolina State, Samford and Cleveland State are all part of the Buckeye Basketball Classic, a four-game event staged entirely in Columbus.
Ohio State last played a home game at St. John Arena during the 2010-11 season, an 82-60 win over Western Carolina (12/12/10). The Buckeyes have played five games in the historic venue since the last full season there in 1997-98.
Syracuse will travel to Columbus Nov. 28 for the annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The Buckeyes are 5-1 all-time against the Orange, the last matchup resulting in a 77-70 Ohio State win in the NCAA East Regional final in Boston March 24, 2012. Ohio State is 2-0 all-time against Syracuse in Columbus, earning a 67-57 win in the last meeting Jan. 4, 1982.
The Big Ten season gets underway in late November, early December for the second-consecutive season. This year, the conference schedule has been expanded to 20 regular-season games, up from 18 games played since the 2008 season.
Holtmann said the level of competition will be formidable in 2018-19.
“We are excited about the challenge of this nonconference schedule,” Holtmann said. “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.”
Two conference games, one home and one away, will be played between Nov. 30 and Dec. 5. Exact dates, opponents, times and television will be announced at a later date.
Games against Bucknell (Dec. 15) and Youngstown State (Dec. 18) advance the neutral-site game vs. UCLA Dec. 22 in Chicago. That game is part of the CBSSports Classic. Kentucky and North Carolina will make up the other half of the doubleheader event.
The final non-conference game is scheduled for Dec. 29 at Value City Arena against High Point, a team coached by former Minnesota head coach Tubby Smith, who will be in his first season coaching his alma mater.
An exhibition game is scheduled for Nov. 1 vs. the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. The NCAA Division II institution is coached by Ben Miller, son of former Ohio State head coach Eldon Miller. Eldon is a volunteer assistant coach with the Braves.
Eldon coached the Buckeyes from 1977-86 and compiled a 174-120 record with the Buckeyes. His teams finished among the Top 4 in the Big Ten regular-season race five times, including back-to-back second place finishes in 1982 and ’83.
The Buckeyes finished the 2017-18 season with an overall record of 25-9 and a Big Ten record of 15-3. Ohio State finished the league season in the No. 2 spot and was the No. 2 seed in the annual Big Ten Tournament, held a year ago at Madison Square Garden in New York. The league tournament returns to Chicago in 2019 (March 13-17) at the United Center.
The Buckeyes earned a No. 5 seed in the 2018 NCAA Tournament, dropping South Dakota State before falling to Gonzaga in the Second Round.
Ohio State will prepare for the 2018-19 season with a summer trip to Spain Aug. 1-11. The Buckeyes will play three games on the trip, one each in Madrid, Valencia and Barcelona.
Times and television for the 2018-19 season will be announced at a later date.
2018-19 Ohio State Nonconference Schedule
1 UNC Pembroke (exh.)
7 at Cincinnati
11 1-Purdue University Fort Wayne
15 2-at Creighton
18 1-South Carolina State
23 1a-Cleveland State
18 Youngstown State
22 4-vs. UCLA
29 High Point
1-Buckeye Basketball Classic, Value City Arena, Columbus, Ohio
1a-Buckeye Basketball Classic, St. John Arena, Columbus, Ohio
2-2018 Gavitt Games, CenturyLink Center, Omaha, Nebraska
3-Big Ten/ACC Challenge, Value City Arena, Columbus, Ohio
4-CBSSports Classic, United Center, Chicago