Matchups and times for the 2023 CBS Sports Classic were released on Tuesday, with the Ohio State men’s basketball team slated to square off against UCLA on Dec. 16 at 3 p.m.
The ninth-annual college basketball showcase, which also features blue bloods Kentucky and North Carolina, will be held for the first time at the State Farm Center in Atlanta, with both games televised on CBS. The Buckeyes’ midday bout with the Bruins will be capped by a battle between the Tar Heels and Wildcats, which is set to begin at approximately 5 p.m.
Ohio State will compete in the CBS Sports Classic for the eighth time in nine years, with the only time it did not participate in the event coming in 2021, when its scheduled matchup with UCLA was canceled due to COVID-19 protocols. The Buckeyes own a 4-4 record in the showcase, with their most recent appearance ending in a 89-84 overtime defeat to North Carolina at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 17, 2022. Ohio State’s last victory in the CBS Sports Classic came in Dec. 2020, when it defeated UCLA by a score of 77-70 at Cleveland’s Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse.
This year, the Buckeyes will match up with a Mick Cronin-led Bruins squad that welcomes three potential NBA draft picks to their roster. UCLA, who reached the Sweet 16 last year after amassing a 31-6 overall record, added freshmen Aday Mara and Berke Buyuktuncel, along with junior Utah transfer Lazar Stefanovic, all of which have appeared in the first round of recent NBA 2024 mock drafts.
Ohio State will look to rebound after a disappointing 16-19 2022-23 season behind a mix of young talent and experienced veterans. The Buckeyes will hope for sophomores Bruce Thornton, Felix Okpara, and Roddy Gayle Jr. to take another step in 2023, while also leaning on returning and transfer veterans Zed Key, Jamison Battle and Dale Bonner.
Ohio State will open the 2023-24 season on Nov. 6 when they welcome Oakland to Value City Arena.