It wasn’t a promise, or even an expectation of things to come. But the mere mention tonight by Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann at the annual Agonis Club fundraiser inside Value City Arena was enough to drum up excitement from college basketball fans in Ohio and beyond.
After attendees saw the Buckeyes go through some practice drills at the event, which raises money to support the program, Holtmann took questions from those in attendance for nearly half an hour. And in the process of answering a question about the program’s non-conference schedule, he made reference to an annual event in the state he came from to Ohio State: The Crossroads Classic, held in Indianapolis.
“I think we really benefited when I was at Butler from playing in a classic with Indiana, Purdue and Notre Dame,” he said. “It was really fun. As a matter of fact, I’ve not said this publicly but we tried to get something like that started here. We’ve even broached that subject. We haven’t been able to get anything like that yet, but I think down the road it would be really, really fun for all the fanbases.
“If you beat one of those programs, right now that’s a quality win for us. We’ve got a lot to gain by playing that.”
This actually wasn’t the first time Holtmann has mentioned such an event. At an event with season-ticket holders in early August, he was asked the same question by a fan and said he wasn’t against the idea.
““It’s something that we’re engaging (teams) in,” he said then. “By no means am I sitting back here saying there’s no way we’re going to play one of those programs, because those are quality programs. Part of our job is to provide an opportunity that’s exciting for our fans. We’re working on some things. In terms of final decisions it’s probably a ways off, but certainly open to it.”
Among the many challenges in getting such an event off the ground, aside from the logistics or planning and deciding which teams would take part, is the Big Ten’s move to 20 conference games starting next season. That leaves 11 non-conference games for the Buckeyes, who are already committed annually to the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, semi-annually to the Gavitt Games, the CBS Sports Classic for the next two years and a home-and-home series with Cincinnati to open the next two seasons.
All that, plus an almost-guaranteed exempt tournament each year gives Ohio State few games to work with.
So while such an event isn’t pending, it sounds like something college basketball fans in Ohio can keep hoping for.