Hey Dayton, Ohio State, Xavier and Cincinnati: Let’s have a tourney

Ohio State basketball coach Chris Holtmann’s openness to getting the Buckeyes and some of the best basketball programs in the state together in the future rekindled thoughts of an idea I’ve had for more than a decade.

Let’s do a yearly tournament featuring colleges from around the state.

To get an idea of what that might look like, I drew up a 12-team bracket this morning

Of course, this is very rough, but we’ve got to start somewhere.

There is one potential issue here, and that is that with 13 Division I programs in Ohio, not everyone can be part of it every year.

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That could work out, though, because I’m also not too sure we could get Ohio State, Dayton, Xavier and Cincinnati to agree to do it every year anyway.

In that case, a six-team deal with Dayton and Xavier headlining one year (they would get byes) and Cincinnati and Ohio State taking top billing the next could still be a big improvement over, you know, nothing.

We could also do an eight-team tournament with a balanced bracket.

Either way, you guarantee three games by including a loser’s bracket, and you create an event that will generate buzz all over the state and no doubt be a marketing gem for one of the national networks in the same way the Crosstown Shootout is and the Gem City Jam should be.

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This is guaranteed to be better than whatever random week of December dreck most of these teams muddle through now, right?

Obviously it creates a great opportunity for the teams from the Horizon League and the MAC to beef up their schedules.

There are plenty of much worse teams OSU, UD, UC and XU would be playing otherwise to fill out their unnecessarily large non-conference slates, so I don’t think it would have much of an adverse affect on them from a strength-of-schedule standpoint.

And before the, “Those teams have nothing to gain” crowd gets going, let me say this: I don’t care. They have little or nothing to lose, either.

In most years, all of the big four are going to be NCAA tournament contenders so that’s a potential resume-builder for them, and any year they are not good enough to beat a team with less tradition or resources, guess what? They’ve got a lot more to worry about than giving guys from Toledo or Youngstown State something to remember.

(For what it’s worth, Ohio State’s 1999 Final Four team lost a game AT TOLEDO if that tells you anything.)

We could also move this Ohio roundball celebration around the state to keep things fresh.

UD Arena could host one year, and it could be at Xavier another. Cleveland, Toledo and maybe even Athens could host, too.

They could also go to the Queen City once UC’s arena renovation is finished, and I guess Columbus could host if the Blue Jackets are out of town or St. John Arena isn’t booked for wrestling or volleyball.

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