Chris Holtmann tells podcast Ohio State men's basketball will play UMass Lowell

Adam Jardy
Buckeye Xtra
Ohio State Buckeyes forward Andre Wesson (24) 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/Columbus Dispatch]

Add another team to the Ohio State non-conference schedule.

In an interview taped Monday with the “Demetris and a Splash of Fanta!!” podcast that aired today, head men’s basketball coach Chris Holtmann said the Buckeyes are putting the finishing touches on a contract with UMass Lowell to come to Value City Arena next week for a game.

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The game will be part of a multi-team event (MTE) that Holtmann said will consist of two games and also include Illinois State, an opponent Holtmann mentioned in a Monday morning radio interview with “The Morning Juice” on WBNS-FM (97.1).

“We have Illinois State coming on the 25th and we’ll play another team; we’re still putting the final touches on that contract,” Holtmann said on the podcast. “We’ve talked to the school that we believe is going to be in that event with us is UMass Lowell. Each of us will play two games. I’m excited to get moving on with our schedule.”

It's not immediately clear when the game against UMass Lowell will take place.

November 25th is the first official date for college basketball games this season. The Buckeyes had been scheduled to participate in the Battle 4 Atlantis, which was then canceled and reborn with most of the same teams slated to play in the Crossover Classic in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Ohio State and many others have since withdrawn from that event because of the rising COVID-19 positivity rates in South Dakota.

“They have incredible testing there,” Holtmann said. “It did end up being about the positivity rate that that’s why our doctors said they didn’t want us to participate.”

The addition of Illinois State and UMass Lowell to the schedule would seem to indicate that the Buckeyes are done adding teams at this point. Teams are capped at 27 games this season if they play in a three-team MTE and 26 if they play in a two-game MTE.

Ohio State has four other non-conference games on the schedule already: home against Morehead State and Alabama A&M on December 2 and 5, respectively, at Notre Dame as part of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge on the 8th and against North Carolina at Cleveland’s Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on the 19th. The Big Ten is expected to announce a 20-game league schedule, which would put Ohio State at 26 scheduled games.

However, the expectation is that the pandemic will force changes throughout the year, something Holtmann said he’s been preparing for.

“If we have to do things on the fly and call up a couple of our neighbors in the state and say let’s go play, we’ll do that,” he said.