Chris Holtmann Ohio State Buckeyes

Chris Holtmann Talks Buckeyes, Previews Open Of Big Ten Play

COLUMBUS — Ohio State men’s basketball coach Chris Holtmann met with reporters on Monday to provide some updates on his squad and also preview Thursday’s matchup against Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights come into this game following a 63-48 win over No. 10 Indiana to open their Big Ten conference slate. This will be the Buckeyes’ first conference game. The highlights of everything that Holtmann had to say can be found below.

  • Rutgers is a really tough, older team. They are healthy for the first time all year. They are one of the best defensive teams in the country. It’s always very physical against Rutgers.
  • What does Rutgers do well defensively? They are disruptive. They turn you over. They are great on the glass. They’re long, they’re physical. They have a terrific big who has grown into his own as a third-year player. Great positional size and length.
  • Brice Sensabaugh will continue to get a lot of defensive attention from opponents and make the proper adjustments. He will.
  • Does the performance against Duke give him confidence against Rutgers? The glass will be one of the challenges on Thursday. They will face a number of teams that will challenge them similarly this season. Rutgers is right there.
  • Rutgers center Clifford Omoruyi is one of the best bigs in the nation.
  • You will continue to see more freshmen together at the same time on the court as long as they continue to play well. They are getting more experienced and OSU is still figuring out their best lineups.
  • It takes a minute for freshmen to adjust to Big Ten play. It’s hard for them to appreciate the toughness and attention required. They really need game experience to get it completely.
  • How will the veteran transfers adjust to Big Ten play? “I’m not sure it’s a huge difference between the Big XII and the Big Ten.” Tanner Holden and the freshmen will need to be reminded of what this step is, but Ice Likekele and Sean McNeil have played a lot of quality big-time ball.
  • Can you imagine the pressure of losing one specific game like Ryan Day has? The reality is that there is a point when the pressure can feel overwhelming for any coach. You have to have strategies in place to handle that. Ryan Day is a friend and he does a terrific job of that. “I’m excited about this next opportunity for them and the program. They’ve earned the right to be in this position.”
  • You have to be mindful of the physical and mental toll of the Big Ten schedule on your players, especially the young ones. It was very important to have the Maui stretch of three games with physical play.
  • Rutgers guard Caleb McConnell is an elite defender with great length. It’s not just him though. They have others, but it begins with him.
  • Brice Sensabaugh has taken strides defensively but still has a ways to go. He wants to get better, which is it a credit to him. Conditioning is improving as well.
  • Effort is usually the line of delineation on when to take a freshman out of the lineup or let them fight through some growing pains.
  • Zed Key has long arms and a big body that allows him to reach for rebounds. He finds the weakside of the rim well also.

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