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"Establish a December tournament that would include some combination of Ohio State, Cincinnati, Xavier, Dayton and maybe a Mid-American Conference school from Ohio." ...
... "Usually, Ohio State has been marked the heel for resisting any such plan. The thinking goes — and it is not without some merit — that the Buckeyes see themselves as the king of Ohio and risk losing the crown by playing against — and losing to — another in-state school"
Rob Oller commentary: Wouldn’t Ohio-only tournament be great?
Thursday December 20, 2012 5:43 AM
As much as colleges appeal to the emotional tug — and cash reserves — of loyal alumni, most college basketball and football fans do not attend games for philanthropic purposes. They pay to be entertained.
Schools understand this, which explains why cheerleaders throw T-shirts and other freebies into the crowd, and stadium and arena video boards rival anything seen on Times Square.
Any notion that the majority of the ticket-buying public wants to fund the athletic department so students can play sports is rah-rah spin. When was the last time you heard a fan complain because pregame player introductions failed to mention the point guard’s field of study and progress toward graduation?
Given that fans want to watch dynamic games, here’s an idea that would add spice to the Ohio State men’s basketball nonconference home schedule, which this season has featured seven teams from nonmajor conferences: Establish a December tournament that would include some combination of Ohio State, Cincinnati, Xavier, Dayton and maybe a Mid-American Conference school from Ohio.
Such a scenario would help justify the financial sacrifice OSU fans make for games that barely register on the excitement meter. The Buckeyes will play host to Kansas on Saturday, but that spotlight does not blind fans to the reality of having paid to watch Ohio State thump Albany, Missouri-Kansas City, Northern Kentucky, Long Beach State, Savannah State, North Carolina-Asheville and Winthrop by an average of 28.1 points.
Add a December tournament to the mix, however, with intrastate foes like Xavier and Cincinnati, and bang gets added to the bucks.
Could it happen? Absolutely. Will it? Only if administrators and coaches from the schools see opportunity outweighing obstacle. And also only if they factor the fans’ interests into the equation.
It is hard to say where athletic directors from Ohio State, Cincinnati, Xavier and Dayton stand on the establishment of such a tournament, because none of the four responded to an interview request. They likely are tired of the topic, given that Ohio State’s playing regular-season games against the other three has been discussed before. The conversation always contains political, financial and personal overtones that make out at least one of the four to be the bad guy.
Usually, Ohio State has been marked the heel for resisting any such plan. The thinking goes — and it is not without some merit — that the Buckeyes see themselves as the king of Ohio and risk losing the crown by playing against — and losing to — another in-state school.Ohio State coach Thad Matta might be open to playing host to Cincinnati and Xavier but is on record saying he has no interest in going on the road to play them.
Bob Baptist, Ohio State men’s basketball beat writer for TheDispatch, has reported that Matta sees no gain from playing Ohio schools anywhere but home, because a loss would be detrimental to the perception of his program.
OK, this wouldn’t fly with Matta, but why not schedule the inaugural Buckeye State holiday tournament in Nationwide Arena, then rotate it among Columbus, U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati and University of Dayton Arena? Cincinnati and Xavier already play each year in the Crosstown Shootout (which took place last night), and Xavier and Dayton play home-and-home games as members of the Atlantic 10, so the Buckeyes probably would need to play Xavier for games played in Columbus. For games in Cincinnati, the Buckeyes could play Dayton, while the Bearcats and Musketeers could meet as part of a renamed Crosstown Shootout. At Dayton, a MAC school would replace Xavier as the Flyers’ opponent, while Ohio State would play Cincinnati.
For a similar, if imperfect, comparison, look to Indianapolis, where Purdue, Notre Dame, Indiana and Butler participate in the Crossroads Classic. This year, No. 1 Indiana lost to Butler, but so what? The Hoosiers are secure enough to face that risk. The Buckeyes should be no less averse to scheduling in-state challengers in a holiday tournament format.
Value City Arena typically is dull for most of December. It’s time to add holiday cheering to the holiday cheer.
We are coming for you Bama!
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