Men's basketball: Ohio State will open the season against Illinois State

Adam Jardy
Buckeye Xtra
Ohio State Buckeyes guard CJ Walker (13) is introduced prior to the NCAA men's basketball game against the Indiana Hoosiers at Value City Arena in Columbus on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020. [Adam Cairns/Dispatch]

The Ohio State men's basketball team will open the season against Illinois State on November 25, coach Chris Holtmann said Monday morning on a live radio appearance.

Holtmann, who was appearing on the "Morning Juice" show on WBNS-FM (97.1), said the game will be part of a multi-team event. Ohio State was scheduled to participate in the Crossover Classic but withdrew from that in early November due to rising COVID-19 numbers in South Dakota, where the eight-team tournament will be played.

"That's one (game) that's pretty solidified," Holtmann said. 

The Buckeyes would have opened that tournament against Memphis. Since withdrawing from the event, they have been trying to put together some sort of multi-team event of their own in order to schedule the NCAA maximum of 27 games this season.

Last Wednesday, Holtmann said that while he is planning to schedule 27 games, he realizes it's unlikely Ohio State will get to play all of them amid the pandemic.

More:Ohio State still trying to build 27-game men's basketball schedule

It's not yet known who else will participate in the event. November 25 is the first allowable date of men's college basketball games this season.

Ohio State has four other games on its schedule. The Buckeyes will host Morehead State and Alabama A&M on December 2 and 5, respectively, before playing at Notre Dame on the 8th as part of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge and then against North Carolina at Cleveland's Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on the 19th as part of the CBS Sports Classic. 

Dates for a 20-game Big Ten schedule have not yet been announced. Holtmann said the finishing touches on the schedule should be out in "a week and a half.

Holtmann also provided updates on Seth Towns (knee) and Musa Jallow (ankle) as they recover from injuries.

"Seth is doing more in practice than he was a week ago," Holtmann said. "He’s not yet into live competitive action. Musa will return, we hope, end of this week to regular, full-scale practices.

"Seth’s the furthest away. It’s hard to put an exact date. Do I think it could happen sometime in December? I do. It'll be a process for him. He had a significant knee injury that he's been recovering from."