Ohio State men’s basketball coach Chris Holtmann speaks to the media after an event titled “An Evening With Coach Holtmann” on Aug. 1, 2017. Credit: Colin Hass-Hill | Sports Editor

Ohio State will open the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons with games against Cincinnati, the school announced Tuesday morning.

The Buckeyes will travel south to play in the Bearcats’ inaugural game in their new arena, Fifth Third Arena, in 2018. The Bearcats will then head to Columbus to play the Buckeyes in Schottenstein Center to begin the 2019 season.

“We have great respect for the UC program and Coach (Mick) Cronin,” Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann said in a statement. “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.”

This is the 11th matchup between the two teams in the history of their respective programs. The teams have not played each other since March 22, 2012, in the NCAA East Regional Semifinals when the Buckeyes won 81-66. This will be the first home-and-home matchup between the two teams since they met in Cincinnati in the 1919-1920 season and in Columbus during the 1920-1921 season.

Ohio State leads the all-time series 6-4, while Cincinnati won a pair of national titles against the Buckeyes in 1961 and 1962.