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Chris Holtmann, Ohio State having ‘conversations’ about igniting in-state rivalries


during the 2017 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament South Regional at FedExForum on March 24, 2017 in Memphis, Tennessee.

Andy Lyons

The era of Ohio State avoiding regular season, non-conference games against intra-state rivals may be coming to an close with Chris Holtmann at the helm of the program.

Ohio State has not played Cincinnati in a non-conference game since 2006. They have not faced off with Dayton for nearly 30 years, since 1988, and Xavier has not gotten a regular season game against the Buckeyes since 1935, but a change to that philosophy is at least under consideration.

“We’ve engaged in some of those conversations,” Holtmann told reporters this week, adding later that “part of our job is to provide a game that’s exciting for our fans. We’re working on some things. It’s probably, in terms of a final decision, a ways off, but I’m certainly open to it.”

Holtmann was formerly the head coach at Butler, who participated in the Crossroads Classic, an annual doubleheader featuring the four best programs in Indiana -- Indiana, Purdue, Butler and Notre Dame -- squaring off against each other. Something like that in the state of Ohio would be awesome for everyone ... except the OSU head coach if and when he loses to “little brother”.

Holtmann understands that, and if he’s OK with risking it in the name of an awesome event that should get those rivalries going, then Ohio State should back him.