With Ohio State heading west this weekend to tangle with the Dayton Flyers at UD Arena for the first time in 35 years, we took a moment to debate which in-state teams would make the most fun annual matchup for the Buckeyes. This isn’t something that’s done often in college basketball (an annual non-conference game against the same team), but for the sake of debate, we’re each picking an in-state foe.
Last week, the guys took a look at Ohio State’s newly-released schedule and pointed out a couple of games that they would consider “trap” games. Justin picked Ohio State’s road game at Michigan on January 15. Connor picked Ohio State’s road game at Wisconsin on February 13. 56% of the people who read our piece last week sided with Justin. 6% of the people agreed with Connor, and 38% of the people think it’s a different game.
After 122 weeks:
(There have been four ties)
This week, the guys are each taking an in-state foe that they think would be fun for the Buckeyes to make an annual matchup. We’re very clear that this is unlikely to ever materialize, but we’re also both fans of the many great men’s basketball programs in Ohio. This is a great excuse to write about a few of them.
Today’s Question: Which in-state team would be the most fun yearly matchup for Ohio State?
I think this is the correct answer and also the easy answer. The Dayton Flyers have a great basketball program, with one of the best venues in the country as well as one of the most rabid alumni and fan bases in all of college basketball.
Flyer fans have always acted like their program was just as prestigious as Ohio State, and a big NCAA Tournament win over the Buckeyes in 2014 has cemented their opinion. When you throw the two teams’ recent track record and NCAA Tournament success (or lack thereof) into the mix, PLUS Dayton’s win over the Buckeyes in 2014, Flyer fans may have a point.
While most people would say Ohio State is still the premier basketball program in the state of Ohio, there’s no doubt that Dayton fans still have bragging rights until the two teams meet again. If the Buckeyes win the charity exhibition game this weekend at UD Arena, the Dayton fanbase will probably try to hold onto bragging rights, since this game is just an exhibition. If the Flyers win, they’ll never let Ohio State fans hear the end of it.
Part of the reason this weekend’s exhibition game is such a big deal is because of how rare of an occasion it is to see these two teams come together and face each other. Before that NCAA Tournament game in 2014, these two teams — despite being separated by only 75 miles — had not played in 26 years.
Chris Holtmann told the media on Tuesday that he’s been “given a lot of grief” by Flyer fans for not scheduling them during his seven years as head man of the Buckeye program. However, as the Big Ten continues to expand, teams have fewer and fewer non-conference games to tinker with. Ohio State is already tied into at least three games as part of the CBS Sports Classic/various other MTE’s each year. If the Big Ten moves to a 22-game schedule at some point, that would be even fewer games to squeeze in someone like Dayton in November or December.
Even so, if there were an opportunity to schedule another Ohio team on a yearly basis, Dayton would be the one. Flyer fans have completely sold out UD Arena this weekend for a game that literally does not count for anything — other than the money that will be raised for some worthwhile causes. These two programs are consistently the best in the state. Having them face each other every year would be fantastic.
Dayton is the simple answer, and it would be fun if Ohio State were able to play them yearly, but I am going to take a different route for this one. I want the Buckeyes to play Cincinnati every season or at least once every three years.
Ohio State has only played the Bearcats seven times in the program’s history, and the Buckeyes are 5-2. They played the Bearcats last season, and the Buckeyes won 81-53 behind 19 points and eight rebounds from Zed Key.
It seems weird that two of the top programs historically in the state have only played seven times, and Ohio State has played Ohio University and Cleveland State more than Cincinnati. Both student sections and fans would show out for this one, just like Dayton.
This would also be a fun and interesting game in terms of recruiting. A lot of in-state recruits and recruits in border states will consider both Ohio State and Cincinnati in their final lists. A lot of recruits would visit this game and make it part of their success of beating the other school if they chose one of the two. Especially if they were offered a spot on the roster by one and not the other.
Cincinnati has had success recently with Mick Cronin and now Wes Miller. The Bearcats would be a solid test for the Buckeyes every time they play and would be a marquee early-season matchup.
Which Ohio team would be the most fun to see Ohio State face every year?
This poll is closed