I have to agree with a piece earlier this week from BSB editor Jeff Svoboda regarding the dearth of in-state schools on Ohio State’s basketball schedule in the past decade-plus.
As he mentioned, we have in the past discussed an idea for an All-Ohio tournament that could take on one of several forms and drive interest in roundball throughout “the heart of it all” early in the season.
Some will argue Ohio State has more to lose than to gain from changing the way it does business now, but I’m not sure there is much evidence to support that claim.
If you really get down to it, the Ohio State basketball brand is still underdeveloped. Considering the success both recently and historically, fan support should probably be much more intense.
Part of that is a result of the attention paid to football, which doesn’t bother me one bit, but another part is OSU does next to nothing to earn attention in November and December while parading through an endless supply of mostly nondescript out-of-state teams to get slaughtered in the totally nondescript arena. A couple of name opponents are a yearly exception, but I’d say what they do is probably fairly considered the bare minimum. I mean, everyone in the Big Ten takes part in the challenge with the ACC. It’s not like football, where Ohio State has scheduled as aggressively or more so than just about any other national power and certainly better than most of the rest of the Big Ten.
Playing someone like Cincinnati, Dayton, Xavier or even Ohio or Wright State (which they have done in the past couple of years) regularly gives them something to market, and more importantly since their marketing is in general uninspired at best, gives the local media something to write about that might drum up some more interest in December. The latter even applies to playing other Ohio programs that haven’t been as good because at least there are local kids who have stories someone might actually care about as opposed to the majority of the OOS teams they play.
The other schools have much more to gain from this, sure, but I’m not convinced Ohio State really has anything significant to lose other than the very occasional shot of pride.
Hey, but then could you imagine the press for the rematch? That would sell itself.