One day removed from a three-point road win against Indiana, Ohio State men’s basketball coach Chris Holtmann hosted his weekly radio show.
In case you couldn’t listen, here are the highlights.
*The Buckeyes will face Illinois on Thursday night. The Fighting Illini lead the Big Ten in turnovers forced per game, and the Buckeyes are turning it over more than any team in the league.
A submitted question asked Holtmann if Ohio State does specific drills designed to help cut down on turnovers.
“We do them every day,” he said. “Every day. We’ve really done them from the start of the season and we do a lot of stuff in film. We have to keep working on it in practice, keep working on our decision-making. As coaches we’ve got to continue to find ways to maybe put our guys in simpler situations, and our guys have to embrace it. They have to make better decisions with the ball, or else we’re going to struggle going forward.”
*Late in the Indiana game, the Buckeyes were able to force the Hoosiers into burning their final timeout by defending an inbounds play, and then they came up with a big steal.
“They did a great job,” Holtmann said. “We’ve not played that baseline underneath defense a whole lot in games. It’s a different baseline out of bounds defense than our base one. Our guys did a great job switching everything. Late when we scored (to go ahead for good), they probably would’ve called a timeout. It was critical.”
*As for the scrambling defense after Andre Wesson’s go-ahead dunk, which forced Indiana into a miss, Holtmann graded the overall execution as a ‘B.’
“We were pretty alert, but we can be more alert in some areas,” he said. “It was a little bit delayed. They did a high ball screen for Romeo. Luther did a great job picking the ball up early and Andre did a pretty good job on the ball screen coverage.”
*In discussing the Hoosiers, Holtmann offered an interesting insight into how Indiana plays.
“The one thing when you play a team like Indiana (is) they are really going to commit to playing a specific certain style of play,” he said. “They’re good at it. Because they’re so committed to that and aggressive at it, it gives you an idea of how they’re going to play certain situations. They’re not a team that typically changes defenses coming out of timeouts or changes certain coverages, so you maybe have an idea of how something is going to be played and have a counter to that. It’s made them very aggressive defensively.”
*On the injury report, Holtmann said Kyle Young grabbed his leg at Indiana, which briefly concerned him. Otherwise, he’s got a minutes restriction in practice but not in games.
“I don’t give it a second thought in the game,” Holtmann said. “I’m waiting for the stop sign from (the training staff).”
*Holtmann took a submitted question about keeping the Buckeyes focused while they were going 1-6 in January.
“We were just trying to say some really specific things, really repeatedly, and that was the idea of just continuing day by day to put in our work and our time and improve and not focus too much on what had just happened or the daunting schedule ahead,” he said. “To really stay in the moment as much as possible. We really tried to do an autopsy of every game and take a good hard look at playing just a couple of possessions better. We obviously are still doing that.
“We didn’t strip them of their practice jerseys or kick them out of the locker room. Some people do that, and that’s fine, but we just felt like we needed to coach them better and we needed to play better.”
*Holtmann discussed sophomore Musa Jallow, who had six rebounds at Indiana and was impactful even though he didn’t score.
“What Musa right now needs to bring to this group is great attention to detail defensively, great effort defensively, a guy who can rebound it defensively and offensively,” he said. “I want him to get out in transition. He’s really become a pretty good post feeder. He’s got to build on this and continue to do that well. I’ve been honest with our guys, at this time of year you’re looking for guys that do we play better when you’re out there? If you take bad shots or you turn the ball over consistently and you don’t play a lot of minutes, it’s going to be hard to play you.”
*Andre Wesson was assigned to guard Juwan Morgan in part to keep Kaleb Wesson out of foul trouble, Holtmann said.
*Holtmann is now 2-0 at Assembly Hall as an Ohio State coach. A fan reminded him of this.
“I like this question a lot,” he said. “I did not know (that). You have so much respect for that program. You know how hard it is to win the road, but I think on the bus ride somebody mentioned it. We had to bus from Bloomington to Indianapolis for some flight issues. You’re so wiped out from the day you just want to get home to your wife and daughter.”
*A submitted question asked Holtmann about having so few home weekend games and whether he notices the schedule like that.
“I can’t stand it,” he said. “I love weekend Saturday noon games. It’s one of the things David Egelhoff showed me right away once we looked at the schedule. I don’t know why we have this limited number. At some point I probably will bring it up with the Big Ten office. My guess is attendance is always better on weekends, and particularly on Saturdays.”
*The Penn State game had a number of delays, and one listener asked if the officials tell the coaches what’s going on when the game is constantly being stopped.
“Sometimes, but not always,” he said. “Goodness, I’m with you. It was 2:25. I get the last couple minutes, obviously you have to review the deflection late where 15 hands touched it. The other ones, I’m with you: you’re saying let’s get a read on it, let’s move on, let’s not have any more delays. Let’s move on.
He then continued.
“Interesting story in that game,” Holtmann said. “The play in the last 2 ½ minutes, I was getting irritated with the stoppages of play. It was the time Kaleb got pulled down, and I thought they were saying Kaleb pulled him down. I’d seen that guy do that on film before. I’m like, let’s go. The official put his hand right up in front of me and said it might be in your best interest just to wait a second. I completely turned around and went right back to our huddle. I think his point was, ‘We reviewed it. It could be in your favor. If you want us to scrap it right now, we can, but you probably should be more patient.’ So I went back to the huddle and told our guys, ‘I think it’s going to be good news.’ ”
*Asked what one rule change he would make to college basketball, Holtmann said, “I would like to see a change in the hook and hold, that maybe taken out or expedited. I think they should allow coaches to call timeout again. I don’t’ know why they took that away.”