Would you want to see an inter-state matchup, or perhaps a battle with one of the blue bloods?
After a one-week detour last week to share some of our sports trauma, we are back this week to give our thoughts on Ohio State basketball in this week’s edition of “You’re Nuts.” Ohio State’s schedule is still taking shape, and we won’t know the full schedule for quite some time. We do know the Buckeyes’ opponent in the CBS Sports Classic, the North Carolina Tar Heels. UNC ended last season as the national runner-up and is returning the core of that team that nearly won the title.
We also know that the Buckeyes will participate in the Maui Invitational from Nov. 21-23, where they’ll play three games. The bracket will be finalized at a later date, but Ohio State will play three of Arizona, Arkansas, Cincinnati, Creighton, Louisville, San Diego State, and Texas Tech. OSU will have a great chance to pick up some elite wins early in the season, but these early matchups could also sour their nonconference resume if they’re not able to pick up a few wins.
But first, a recap.
Last week, Connor and Justin shared their most painful sports memory. Connor picked the 2013 NLCS, where the Giants walked-off his beloved Cardinals. Justin picked the entire year of 2007, when Ohio State men’s basketball lost to Florida in the NCAA Tournament title game, Ohio State football lost to Florida in the BCS National Championship game, the Cavaliers were swept by the Spurs in the NBA Finals, the Browns missed the playoffs, the Penguins lost to the Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Finals, and the Indians lost to the Red Sox in the ALCS.
The people sided with Justin’s thoroughly miserable 2007, winning him 95% of the vote. Justin is within one win of tying it up with Connor after one year of nuts.
After 52 weeks:
(There have been two ties)
This week we’re talking about Ohio State’s nonconference schedule and who we would love to see the Buckeyes schedule for a home-and-home series. With our picks, the Buckeyes would host that team and travel to their house. Additionally, it does not need to be realistic. Would Duke, for example, ever agree to a home-and-home just for fun? Absolutely not, because they are cowards. But if that’s your choice, go for it.
Which team do you want Ohio State to schedule for a home-and-home?
Ohio State and Kentucky is one of the juicier rivalries that’s quietly simmering under the surface. It’s not a rivalry based on how frequently they play (only 21 times in 80 years), but geographically and between fans, this is a rivalry.
With Kentucky bordering Ohio to the south and Columbus only being about three hours from Lexington, there’s a decent amount of crossover amongst fans. There are plenty of UK fans that live in Ohio, and there are plenty of Ohio State fans that live in Kentucky. We all know someone who loves Ohio State football and Kentucky basketball — which is morally corrupt in my opinion. But it happens!
These two programs have faced off 21 times, with Kentucky leading the all-time series 11-10. Ohio State is currently riding a two-game winning streak over Big Blue, having beat them in the CBS Sports Classic in 2015 and 2019. The 2019 was a battle between two top-10 teams, with Ohio State winning 71-65. The 2015 game pitted the 4th-ranked Wildcats against the unranked Buckeyes, with Ohio State winning 74-67. Keita Bates-Diop, Marc Loving, Jaquan Lyle, and Trevor Thompson all scored in double-digits for an Ohio State team that did not make the NCAA Tournament that season.
These two teams were supposed to meet in the CBS Sports Classic this past season in Las Vegas, but — as we know — the Buckeyes dealt with some COVID-19 issues in December. The game was cancelled, in part because any players that tested positive in Las Vegas would not be allowed to fly back home for 10 days.
The two teams discussed rescheduling during the season, including playing the very next week, but Chris Holtmann and John Calipari weren’t able to work out a date. The two head coaches have said they would be willing to some sort of home-and-home series in the future, potentially as soon as this upcoming season. On his weekly radio show back on March 21, Holtmann said that “his guess” is that Kentucky will be on Ohio State’s schedule this upcoming season. Far from a guarantee, and this was also before they knew they’d also be playing North Carolina (on top of Maui).
And of course, Holtmann grew up in Nicholasville, Kentucky — 15 miles from Rupp Arena. He still has family living in Kentucky, and he donated $50,000 to the Kentucky United for Tornado Relief Telethon on Dec. 14, 2021. The head coach has personal ties to the area, so it looks pretty likely that the two programs will come to some sort of agreement here in the next year or two.
Hard to argue against Kentucky, and I might be the biggest fan of the CBS Sports Classic out there — just wanted to put that on the table. College basketball needs more events and tournaments like the CBS Sports Classic. Rant over.
I want the Buckeyes to play Gonzaga more. I went in between Gonzaga and Duke on this one, but I chalked Duke up to the moment and recency bias. Even with Coach K gone, a game versus Duke would still be huge because it’s still Duke, but they may never be able to live up to the magic that was Nov. 21, 2022 (that was when Ohio State played Duke in basketball, just to clarify).
For one, these two teams have only played three times. Ohio State won in 2011-12 and then they played twice in 2017-18, first in the super fun PK80 Invitational (I am at least consistent) where Gonzaga won and then Gonzaga knocked out Ohio State in the NCAA tournament that same year.
All of their matchups outside of the PK80 one were entertaining and fun to watch, as both teams can get out and run and score at high levels. Not to mention Gonzaga is consistently a top-five team in the country, incredibly well coached, and is very fun to go play on the road. What else do you need? Kentucky makes sense, but this one is a little outside of the box that could be a lot of fun.