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Chris Holtmann is pulling out all the stops to get fans to attend Ohio State men’s basketball games

Plus, Billy Price named a semifinalist for the Outland Trophy, and the Buckeye softball schedule is set.

NCAA Basketball: Robert Morris at Ohio State Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Ohio State men’s basketball is 3-0 to start the 2017-18 season, but with a new head coach and a lot of younger, unknown players on the roster, the turnout for the first few home games hasn’t been packing the arena. Former Buckeye baller J.J. Sullinger posited the question on Friday why some fans say they’ll start attending once football season is over.

Granted fandom takes time and dedication, and splitting your time (and money to purchase tickets) between football and basketball might be tough, but ultimately if you’re a Buckeye fan, you’re a fan of all Buckeye athletes.

My guess is attendance and trying to re-invigorate a student body that has grown tired of the mundane basketball games in Columbus the past two years, is one of the top priorities for new head coach Chris Holtmann. And, it’s probably why Holtmann took up shop at Raising Canes on High St. earlier in the week to buy students lunches. Or why he announced on Friday that the program would be giving away free student tickets to the Clemson game in late-November.

Holtmann is embracing as much of Buckeye culture and tradition as he can, including bringing the football team’s “Carmen Ohio” tradition to the basketball games this season. It’s still super early in his career at Ohio State, but Buckeye basketball seems to be far more exciting in 2017 than it has the past couple of years.

Having an empty gym does more than just hurt the team that is competing this season, it gives coaches less incentive to create long-term careers in Columbus and also hurts the recruiting prospects. The Buckeyes didn’t seem to have trouble multi-tasking both football and basketball season back when Aaron Craft was terrorizing the court.

Let’s get back to that. Please.

“Less than a week after becoming Ohio State’s all-time leader in consecutive starts, already graduated center Billy Price added another line to his resume on Thursday evening: Outland Trophy semifinalist.”

-Ohio State Buckeyes

The Buckeye football program has churned out quality NFL-caliber centers for years. From Nick Mangold to Corey Linsley, and, most recently, Pat Elflein, Billy Price is the next on that list, having successfully navigated the shift from guard to center, and having managed to start 51 consecutive games. (Are you kidding me? I can’t do anything 51 times in a row.)

Price claimed the record with his start last week, and will continue to extend it through the remainder of the regular season and beyond (hopefully). The four-year starter was an All-American in 2016 at right guard, and has already been named a Midseason All-American by the Associated Press as well as a Senior CLASS Award finalist for his play this season.

The Outland Trophy is awarded to the best interior lineman on offense or defense, and the three finalists will be announced at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 21. Price is among six semifinalists, which consist of five offensive linemen and one defensive tackle.

Price is among 19 seniors who will be playing their last game in Ohio Stadium, and even better, he’ll be going out on top with his quarterback, J.T. Barrett.

“The 2018 slate features 13 games against teams that made last year's NCAA Tournament, 15 contests at Buckeye Field and five non-conference tournaments.”

-Ohio State Buckeyes

The Ohio State softball team just finalized their upcoming season’s schedule, and the slate of games features some steep competition. Hoping to create some early momentum, the preseason slate is just as challenging.

"The Big Ten/ACC Challenge is a great opportunity to highlight our entire conference and we look forward to doing our part to bring home the title for the B1G. Traveling the country will provide the battles in preseason to get us ready for an extremely competitive conference schedule," said head coach Kelly Kovach Schoenly.

As they’ve done in the past, the Buckeye softball squad will start their season with seven weeks of road games. Their longest road trip will be a 10-day excursion to California for Spring Break, an opportunity for the team’s West Coast-natives to get a taste of home, according to Schoenly. Big Ten action begins in late March on the road at Indiana, and the first Buckeye home game will be on March 28 against Kentucky.

Ohio State returns 17 letterwinners in 2018, including NFCA third team All-American Lilli Piper (.421, 18 HR, 53 RBI, 75 hits, 47 runs), and NFCA All-Region selections second-teamers Emily Clark (.333, 10 HR, 45 RBI, 30 runs scored) and Becca Gavin (.348, 37 hits, 18 RBI).

The Ohio State softball should be ready to roll once the season gets underway, and they’ve even had some company in the weight room this offseason, football phenom Nick Bosa.

All Ohio State teams’ weekend schedule:

Team Match-up When
Team Match-up When
Women's Swimming Ohio State Invitational Friday, All Day
Men's Swimming Ohio State Invitational Friday, All Day
Pistol @ Army West Point Friday, TBA
Women's Volleyball Nebraska Firday, 6 pm
Women's Basketball Quinnipiac Friday, 7 pm
Women's Hockey @ Bemidji State Friday, 8:07 pm
Women's Swimming Ohio State Invitational Saturday, All Day
Men's Swimming Ohio State Invitational Saturday, All Day
Rifle @ Colorando Springs Saturday, All Day
Wrestling @ Findlay Open Saturday, 10 am
Women's Cross Country @ NCAA Championships Saturday, 12 pm
Men's Cross Country @ NCAA Championships Saturday, 12 pm
Pistol @ Army West Point Saturday, TBA
Men's Gynmastics Scarlet and Gray Intrasquad Saturday, 2 pm
Football Illinois Saturday, 3:30 pm
Women's Ice Hockey @ Bemidji State Saturday, 4:07 pm
Women's Volleyball Iowa Saturday, 8 pm
Women's Swimming Ohio State Invitational Sunday, All Day
Men's Swimming Ohio State Invitational Sunday, All Day
Rifle @ Colorando Springs Sunday, All Day
Women's Basketball Washington Sunday, 11 am
Men's Basketball Northeastern Sunday, 2 pm