If you're not particularly invested in the chances for this year's Ohio State basketball team making a deep run into March, you can always get excited about next year's team. After the schedule for the 2014-2015 basketball team was criticized by some fans for not being exciting or sufficiently difficult, the Buckeyes have already announced a few high profile games for next season. Now, Land-Grant Holy Land has learned of another Ohio State opponent for next season.
The Buckeyes will face the Virginia Military Institute Keydets of the Southern Conference next season, on either Dec. 5 or Dec. 6. The Keydets will join Kentucky (in New York City), Memphis (in Miami, FL) and UConn (at UConn) on Ohio State's schedule, along with a not-yet announced home date against an ACC squad in the annual Big Ten/ACC challenge. The Buckeyes will pay VMI a guarantee of $95,000.
Ohio State and VMI have played three times before, with the Buckeyes winning all three games, most recently in 2011, when Ohio State blew out the Keydets, 107-74. That score isn't a misprint, as VMI plays one of the faster tempos in the country, leading to high scoring affairs nearly every night. VMI might not be the best team, but this shouldn't be a boring game.
The Keydets struggled this year, finishing 11-19, with an official RPI of 287 and a KenPom ranking of 297, both of which would have been one of the lowest ranked teams on Ohio State's schedule this season. They have enjoyed some successful relatively recently though, winning 22 games in 2013-2014, making the semifinals of the CIT before failing to eventual champion Yale. Leading scorer QJ Peterson, who averaged 19.6 ppg this year, is slated to return.
Ohio State will likely schedule 13 out of conference games, with five now being spoken for. If other year's schedules are any indication, it's unlikely that Ohio State will schedule another true heavy hitter to this slate, but it's certainly possible some names that fans recognize will be added to the slate. Given that the MEAC is sponsoring the "tournament" that Ohio State and Memphis are participating in, it seems like a safe bet that Ohio State will be playing at least one MEAC team next year. The Buckeyes have also traditionally scheduled at least one HBCU, a MAC team, and another lower-conference in-state team, but there's plenty of room for other games.
And we'll give you the details on them as soon as we know about them.
2015-2016 Ohio State basketball schedule
Nov. 19 Memphis (in Miami)
Dec. 5 or Dec. 6 VMI
Dec. 12 at UConn
Dec. 19 Kentucky (in Brooklyn)
TBA ACC opponent (ACC/Big Ten Challenge)