Ohio State’s Chris Holtmann in favor of non-conference games, not all-inclusive NCAA Tournament

Adam Jardy
Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann reacts from the bench during a game against Wooster at Value City Arena on Nov. 5, 2017.

The makeup of the 2020-21 college basketball season is yet to be decided, but Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann voiced his opinion on the schedule in a Big Ten Network interview Thursday.

In a seven-minute interview with BTN’s Rick Pizzo, Holtmann said that while the Buckeyes are waiting to see whether non-conference games are permitted, he hopes that they are. And that includes participation in what is scheduled to be the program’s first appearance in the the Battle 4 Atlantis.

“There are going to have to be some parameters that are set, but let’s say there’s an open window for the games being (November) 25th or 26th,” Holtmann said. Then leagues are going to have to determine, is the event something you can play in? We’d like to play it. I really think non-conference for leagues all over the country is important, maintaining a portion of your non-conference season.

“We would like to play in that event.”

The NCAA is expected to adopt a recommended start date for the season Sept. 16. According to multiple media reports, the most likely outcome will be moving the start date of the season back from Nov. 10 to either the 23rd or the 25th. The Battle 4 Atlantis is scheduled to start on the 25th.

It’s not clear how many non-conference games teams will be permitted to play. Thursday evening, CBS’ Jon Rothstein reported that teams might have a maximum of eight such games, a reduction of three from a typical year.

Holtmann also addressed a report that the Battle 4 Atlantis is considering a move to South Dakota, where it could be held in a bubble-like environment in Sioux Falls.

“September and early October, it is going to be crazy in terms of scheduling across college basketball,” he told Pizzo. “Our games may be limited and we’ll have to see if we can. Our plan right now is to play in that event and until we hear otherwise, we’re going to assume we’re playing in that event, wherever it moves to. I’ve heard some of the same locations (for the Battle 4 Atlantis) you have. I’ve not been to South Dakota. I am enough of a geography buff to know it’s probably going to feel a little different than the Bahamas, but as long as we’re playing college basketball I’m all for it.”

Wednesday, the ACC coaches made a unified announcement that the conference believes the NCAA should allow all teams to make the tournament this season. The recommendation is a likely reaction to the thought of a season of league-only games, making seeding the NCAA Tournament a tricky proposition.

Holtmann said he’s not in favor of such a move but that he likes the thought process.

“Not in favor of it, but I appreciate the thinking and I can appreciate the thought that went into it with the thought of full participation in a unique year,” he said. “It’s such a special event and it’s hard to get into. I can appreciate the thought that went into it. I like the number that it’s at right now. I wouldn’t necessarily be in favor of expanding it.

“I think there would be a lot of logistical things that would be challenges. I think it’s outside the box thinking that’s probably going to be needed in a year like this.”