While I was handling Beat the Clock a few days ago, I came across an article talking about how the contract for Indiana's Crossroads Classic had been renewed. The Classic is a one day event that pairs up the state's four premier basketball programs (Butler, Notre Dame, Purdue and Indiana) in an all day event. This sort of thing is really a win-win for everybody: coaches (who get a guaranteed game against a top flight opponent), athletes (who wouldn't want more in-state bragging rights?) and fans (because seeing that many great teams at once is totally awesome).
As we saw last year, when our fair state sent four teams to the Sweet Sixteen (Cincinnati, Xavier, Ohio State and Ohio), Ohio has some great basketball programs too. With Matta not really placing a major emphasis on in-state competition, and without a similar Buckeye State Basketball event, we don't really have a chance to see many of our great programs in action at once. Why don't we fix that?
The devil is in the details, but thankfully, I came up with a few different models that may actually be realistic, and benefit everybody.
The Single Site Model
How it works: Much like the Crossroads Classic, a single arena would be chosen for a 1-2 day basketball event. The arena could either rotate on a year to year basis (Nationwide? The Q? one of the Cincinnati arenas?), or remain at a single site from year to year. I think ideally, this would be a two day event, bringing in the top 6 programs in Ohio to play three games. Teams would be seeded 1 vs. 2, 3 vs. 4, 5 vs. 6, with seedings bumped to avoid inter-conference matchups (e.g. you wouldn't want two MAC teams to play each other before conference play starts).
What it might look like: Friday: Game 1: High School showcase game, Game 2: Ohio vs Cincinnati. Saturday Game 1: Cleveland State vs Akron, Game 2: Xavier vs Ohio State.
Why you'd do it this way: It's probably the most realistic proposal. It would require minimal schedule coordination (it's only one day), and it gives the small colleges a guaranteed game against a good team. Every single one of these teams won 20 games last season. This shouldn't be a particularly difficult ticket to sell, especially if you discount tickets for attending both days.
The Multiple Site Model
How it works: Instead of hosting a two day event in one city with 6 teams, a multiple site model would allow for a doubleheader to be played at two regional sites. Seeding could be done by a combination of previous year's record, conference affiliation, and location, to generate a larger draw.
What it might look like:. Cincinnati Site: Dayton/Ohio State, Cincinnati/Kent State Cleveland Site: Xavier/Ohio, Cleveland State/Akron
Why you would do it this way: Ohio typically has about 8 decent college basketball teams a year (I'll define decent as somebody who will either compete for a conference title or an NCAA or NIT berth), and four games allows all of them to participate. Multiple sites may make ticket sales either, as it could cut down on travel. Ohio State would have a chance to play in either an NBA arena, or closer to home for Cincinnati/Kentucky recruits once a year as well.
The True State Champion Model
How it works: So this is obviously the biggest pie in the sky plan, since it could require a team to play a conference opponent out of conference, but damn it playoffs are awesome, and that's what college basketball is all about. The top 6 teams in the state would meet at a single site for a two day playoff to determine the champion of Ohio.
What it might look like: Day 1 6) Akron vs 3) Cincinnati. 5) Cleveland State vs 4) Ohio. (DAY). (NIGHT) 6-3 Winner (let's say Cincinnati) against 2) Xavier. 5-4 winner (lets say Ohio) against 1) Ohio State.
(Day 2) Semifinal winner Xavier against Semifinal Winner Ohio State.
Why you would do it this way: If you're a mid-major, this sounds awesome. You may struggle to get quality out of conference opponents, but you might be able to catch three 20 win teams (and two top 25 squads) on a neutral floor early in the season., If you're a bigger school, you're likely going to face two tournament teams in front of a big crowd, plus bragging rights. If you're a fan, uh...this is awesome. I realize that this is very unlikely, given the fact that it could add three games to your schedule, and you may have to play a conference team again.
What do you guys think? Would more in-state basketball games be a positive for our programs? Would you pay money to see any of these events? What should we call it?