Three days after Ohio State exited the Big Ten tournament with a quarterfinals loss to Penn State, coach Chris Holtmann hosted his weekly radio show Monday evening.
In case you couldn’t listen, here are the highlights.
*With essentially two full weeks off, Holtmann laid out the plan for this week of practice leading into Selection Sunday. Ohio State practiced Monday and will practice Tuesday before being off Wednesday, having a morning practice Thursday and then mixing it up Friday.
“Friday we will go off-site and have an intra-squad scrimmage to a local campus,” he said. “We’re still determining where that’s going to be. Probably Denison.”
The scrimmage will probably need to be closed, Holtmann said, due to NCAA rules. There will be a team meal afterward, too. There will be an open practice every year during the preseason on a Football Saturday, Holtmann said.
Holtmann said he’ll be out recruiting Wednesday and Thursday nights.
“It’s a whole lot better than planning your offseason right now, that’s for sure,” he said. “To have an opportunity to practice and prepare for something as great as the NCAA Tournament, it’s an awesome feeling.”
Monday’s practice involved conditioning work and there will be some more every day this week. With one game in potentially 21 days, Holtmann said the key is keeping guys with bigger bodies in shape.
“Extra running is on the practice plan,” he said.
*Only three players on this current roster have been to the tournament before and played a role. Holtmann didn’t count Andrew Dakich, who went with Michigan.
“I believe I knew who had played in the tournament and who hadn’t, but when you see only three hands raised, it’s a little surprising in terms of we do have an inexperienced group when it comes to playing in that setting,” he said.
Fans will be allowed to watch the Selection Show with the team at Value City Arena, an idea Holtmann said was presented to him in part due to the time off.
“It’ll be great to have people here,” Holtmann said. “Once we know who we’re playing, we’re going to be heading up to the offices for a long night, immediately.”
CBS will have a film crew following the team throughout the run-up to the tournament.
*A hot point of debate among Ohio State fans after the Penn State loss was Jae’Sean Tate’s lack of playing time down the stretch. Holtmann addressed his lineups.
“We were really having trouble scoring when it was Jae’Sean, Keita (Bates-Diop) and Kaleb (Wesson) out there together,” he said. “There was not enough space on the floor to work with their big bodies. Our offensive efficiency and plus-minus was not very good, so we decided to go smaller, giving Kaleb the ability to move and get to different spots and then our players did a great job of finding him a couple times.”
The smaller lineup allowed Andre Wesson to get a three-point play on a drive, C.J. Jackson to get to the basket on a drive and Kam Williams a few opportunities for open looks, Holtmann said, in addition to Bates-Diop’s second-half push.
The trade-off was the Buckeyes lost some ability on the defensive end. Tate’s situation was “almost completely” foul trouble, Holtmann said, and if he hadn’t had four fouls he would’ve probably seen time later in the game.
*On the final play against Penn State, Jackson wasn’t able to get off much of a final-shot attempt.
“He just couldn’t get it off over Tony Carr,” Holtmann said. “We were trying to go long on that and put it in JT’s hands, but they put two back there and sandwiched him so the second option was JT off a curl. It’s one of the reasons that I don’t know I’ll call a timeout – we had to call a timeout in this situation, but I wouldn’t have called one against Indiana had we had one because it’s so much harder to go against a set defense in that situation.
“It looked like he got tied up a little bit with cramps there at the very end to slow him down, but they defended him well.”
*As for those fouls, two of them were a long, long away from the basket.
“We’ll show it to him in film,” he said. “For him, that’s a lot of keeping your emotions in the right place. A lot of those fouls came out of emotion and frustration. Our team is bigger than just one player, but we need him on the floor.”
*Tony Carr again had a big game against the Buckeyes, but Holtmann overall wasn’t disappointed with how they guarded the Penn State guard.
“We created more issues for him in this game than any of the three games,” he said. “They’ve got other weapons for sure, but his ability to make plays and his size makes it difficult. They post him, and he made some shots, although one of them was a banked-in three. We’ve seen that one before. I thought we did as good a job defending them in this particular game as in any of the other games. We just didn’t finish enough plays offensive, probably, and they got to the line nine more times than we did.”
*The injury report was mostly clean.
“Kaleb’s dealing with a sore ankle that’s bothered him a little bit since the Penn State game, the one on the road,” Holtmann said. “That’s swelled up for him a little bit and that’s bothered him for a little bit. Other than that we’ve had a little bit of illness in the last couple of days but nothing significant.”
*The topic of Bates-Diop’s development and its impact while out recruiting came up, and Holtmann said it was something discussed Sunday night on a long phone call with a recruit and his father.
“One of the things they mentioned was how Keita has developed in our system,” Holtmann said. “Keita deserves the credit for that, but the fact that he went from a guy who wasn’t on preseason all-conference teams to the kind of year (he’s had), recruits and their families do look at, ‘Is my son going to get better in your program?’ I think that’s what they recognized, which helps us in recruiting now, it certainly does. We can speak to Keita’s development and C.J.’s development and JT’s development. He brought it up to me, that specific point: we feel really good about how he’s been utilized in your system.”
*A caller asked about Holtmann’s philosophy about playing man versus zone.
“I’m not opposed to zone,” he said. “I played zone quite a bit early in my coaching (career). Our defense has been phenomenal this year. I felt like our man to man could be pretty good for us this year and didn’t want to deviate too much from it. If we struggle in the future, then we could use some zone in the future.”
*That same caller also asked Holtmann’s thoughts on allowed players to profit from their namesakes and likenesses while in college.
“I think the whole amateurism debate is a tough one,” he said. “(With) the amount of money going on, I just don’t right now have the answers. It’s interesting hearing all the discussions and dialogue about it.”
*Holtmann said he closed Monday’s practice by praising one particular player.
“Kam’s played really good lately, but he’s practiced well,” he said. “There’s been a correlation. It’s good for our guys to recognize that and see there’s a reason he’s playing well right now.”