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Cincinnati Will Reopen Fifth Third Arena Against Ohio State

Mark your calendars.

NCAA Basketball: Central Florida at Cincinnati Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Fifth Third Arena is a wonderful basketball venue. For one season, we will be robbed of watching the Cincinnati Bearcats hoop at the 53, as renovations commence on the arena.

But the Bearcats will be back for the 2018-19 season and oh boy will the first game be a good one, as they will face off with in-state foe Ohio State in the first part of a home-and-home series.

The Buckeyes, who will host the Bearcats in 2019 as well, are a fitting opponent for the return what with the regional rivalry. The 53 will be packed for this one for a variety of reasons. First, the Bearcats will be back home. Second, Ohio State is a pretty recognizable brand even for the non-college basketball inclined.

As far as historical precedence, there is less than you may think. The Bearcats and Buckeyes have only played 10 times before and only twice since 1962. Ohio State leads the all-time series 6-4. It took that lead by winning 72-50 on Dec. 16, 2006 and then with an 81-66 victory during the 2012 NCAA Tournament. The Buckeyes won an 81-66 decision in that contest during the Sweet 16.

Ohio State will also be in its second season under former Butler head coach Chris Holtmann when this contest goes down, so there will be intrigue surrounding the development of the program, but who cares about that? The most important thing is we’ll get to see the Bearcats have a shot at squashing the Buckeyes and exacting revenge all at once.