UC to open renovated Fifth Third Arena against Ohio State as part of home-and-home series

Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin shouts during the second half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against SMU, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017, in Cincinnati. Cincinnati won 66-64. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) – The University of Cincinnati will start both the 2018-19 and 2019-2020 men’s basketball seasons against Ohio State, the programs announced Tuesday. The Bearcats will open a newly renovated Fifth Third Arena against the Buckeyes in 2018 with Ohio State playing host in Columbus in 2019. Although dates for the games have not been determined, the game will take place on the first allowable date of competition in each of the next two years.

“This is a great thing for Ohio, for basketball in Ohio and for the fans of these great universities,” UC head coach Mick Cronin said. “I want to thank everyone involved in making this happen. We are very excited about reopening our arena next season. Supporting this and agreeing to play Cincinnati in a home-and-home series is a first class move by Ohio State, Coach (Chris) Holtmann and the OSU administration.”

Holtmann, the first-year head coach of the Buckeyes, said the two historic programs opening the season against each other is a tremendous opportunity to showcase each program.

"We have great respect for the UC program and Coach (Mick) Cronin,” Holtmann said. “The idea of challenging ourselves in the nonconference while also providing an attractive game for our collective fan bases certainly made sense to us. We understand the challenge of opening the season on the road vs. a high-caliber opponent with a younger team provides some risk but we felt like it was the right decision at this time.

“We will continue to work to put together a challenging and attractive nonconference schedule in the future within the constraints of the Big Ten schedule as well as the games that have already been contracted," Holtmann said.


Ohio State leads the all-time series with the Bearcats 6-4. The teams have not met during regular-season play since 1921, which was the home opener for the Buckeyes and the only previous time the teams opened the season against one another. The Bearcats won that game 33-17. Ohio State played host to Cincinnati in five of the first six meetings, going 3-2 in those games. Ohio State has not played the Bearcats in Cincinnati since Jan. 3, 1920, a 35-13 win for the Buckeyes.

Three of the last four meetings have come during NCAA Tournament competition with all of the last four matchups contested on neutral courts. Ohio State was ranked No. 1 while the Bearcats were No. 2 in both the 1961 and 1962 NCAA National Championship games with Cincinnati winning the national title both times.

No. 4 Ohio State downed the Bearcats 72-50 in the Wooden Tradition in Indianapolis Dec. 16, 2006. The most recent meeting was in the 2012 NCAA East Regional Semifinals in Boston, an 81-66 win for the No. 7-ranked Buckeyes.

Date - Result

  • Feb. 4, 1905 – Ohio State won 42-6 in Columbus, Ohio
  • Jan. 15, 1907 – Cincinnati won 32-30 in Columbus, Ohio
  • Jan. 16, 1909 – Ohio State won 57-24 in Columbus, Ohio
  • Jan. 20, 1912 – Ohio State won 61-15 in Columbus, Ohio
  • Jan. 3, 1920 – Ohio State won 35-13 in Cincinnati
  • Dec. 10, 1921 – Cincinnati won 33-17 in Columbus, Ohio
  • March 25, 1961 – Cincinnati won 70-65 in overtime in the NCAA Tournament championship game in Kansas City, Missouri
  • March 24, 1962 – Cincinnati won 71-59 in the NCAA Tournament championship game in Louisville, Kentucky
  • Dec. 16, 2006 – Ohio State won 72-50 at the Wooden Tradition in Indianapolis
  • March 22, 2012 – Ohio State won 81-66 in the NCAA East Regional Semifinals in Boston

Information courtesy UC Athletics

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off