Chris Holtmann Ohio State Buckeyes

Chris Holtmann Discusses Ohio State’s Struggles, Managing Expectations

COLUMBUS — Ohio State men’s basketball coach Chris Holtmann met with reporters on Monday for his weekly media session to talk about his team. Holtmann answered questions about his team’s struggles of late and how they can move forward in a stronger fashion.

  • Two games this week. Northwestern is a veteran team that is having as good a year as they’ve had in a number of seasons. “Really good team, coming off of a win last night at Wisconsin.” Terrific defensively with veteran guards. That’s followed by a well-coached Michigan State team.
  • He hasn’t had a chance to dive into Northwestern yet because they are still cleaning up the Michigan film. There has been some advance scouting from the staff. The last time OSU played Northwestern may have been the Buckeyes’ best performance of the season.
  • There has been a revote for captains. Holtmann wanted the players to have a say in the leadership on the team. Bruce Thornton got a significant number of votes. First time they’ve had a freshman get that kind of number.
  • When did the revote happen and did anybody fall out? “I’m not going to share that publicly,” but the revote happened a couple of days ago.
  • Zed Key’s shoulder sleeve hampers his extension and breathing a bit right now but there isn’t a better solution to it right now because if he gets hit there without it, it could end his season.
  • Northwestern has a 4-year starter at point guard. They have dept that has stepped up despite the departure of their two best players from last season. They are a good study in how to maintain consistency and improve after losing good players. They have changed how they play defensively, but there’s more to it than just that.
  • There isn’t a specific lesson or generalization as to why they have given up more threes, other than they have been too inconsistent on defense.
  • Despite the struggles, you just continue to focus on the work and focusing on what you need to get better in and improve on. If you focus the thoughts too much on what’s ahead of you, it can be overwhelming for everyone. Staying focused on the work can lead to optimism when you see the improvements being made.
  • They need to find ways to get Sean McNeil more shots and McNeil needs to be more aggressive offensively.
  • Why no Tanner Holden against Michigan? The rotation is limited right now. They need help in rebounding and defense, so they’ve decided to give Eugene Brown those minutes instead.
  • Why are the scores getting out of hand? “I wouldn’t say the score yesterday was out of hand.” There’s no one thing to point to. Perhaps there’s some frustration, but yesterday’s game was an example of the other games, where it was two to three-possession game throughout.
  • They need to get better collectively. There were too many off-balance shots in the paint against Michigan. Have to get better in that. You have to focus on specific areas where you need to improve.
  • How have you dealt with the struggles personally? “You focus on the work as much as possible.” He is committed to his habits every day that allow him to stay in a good place, which allow you to be the best version of yourself. When he doesn’t do that, he can tend to get angry a little easier.
  • How frustrated is it with where the program is right now? Again, they’re focused on the work and the next opportunity to get better, which is tomorrow. It’s obviously disappointing.

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