Ohio State’s getting tropical.
The basketball team already has a spot in next year’s Battle 4 Atlantis, an early-season tournament hosted in the Bahamas that features eight teams, and it’s lining up another tournament in the coming years. On Tuesday afternoon, Chris Holtmann said the Buckeyes have a “tentative agreement” to participate in the Maui Invitational “in the future.”
“So there's some things that we have coming up every year that will take us away for four, five days, and we'll play against good competition,” Holtmann said.
The scheduling of challenging non-conference games lines up with Holtmann’s comments in the past about wanting to have a slate of opponents that will test the Buckeyes in November and December. The Battle 4 Atlantis and Maui Invitational are two of the most well-regarded early season tournaments.
In the Bahamas, Ohio State will be a part of a deep field in the fall of 2020 that includes Duke, West Virginia, Utah, Texas A&M, Wichita State, Creighton and an eighth team that hasn’t been named yet.
Though it’s unknown which year the Buckeyes will head to Maui, the field will undoubtedly be stacked. The five most recent Maui Invitational championship matchups have consisted of Gonzaga-Duke, Notre Dame-Wichita State, North Carolina-Wisconsin, Kansas-Vanderbilt and Arizona-San Diego State.
In Holtmann’s mind, getting away from Columbus for a week doesn’t hurt either.
“I do like them, and I think here it's also not a bad thing because football here in the fall, it controls a lot of things,” Holtmann said. “So it's not a bad idea to take your team away for four, five days or a week and play neutral games in settings like that.”
Ohio State doesn’t play any games on an island this year, but it does have a difficult non-conference schedule that includes a trio of games against top-10 opponents, beginning on Wednesday with a home game against No. 10 Villanova as part of the Gavitt Games. The 16th-ranked Buckeyes will also face No. 1 Kentucky in Las Vegas as part of the CBS Sports Classic and No. 6 North Carolina on the road in the ACC-Big Ten challenge.