Ohio State had Tuesday night off, but elsewhere the sport of men’s college basketball delivered in a big way.
From a controversial ending to the Kentucky-LSU game to a trio of entering Big Ten games to a comeback for the ages by Duke at the expense of Louisville, it was a night that had something for every kind of college basketball fan. Buckeyes coach Chris Holtmann said he was watching some of the games while also preparing for Thursday’s home game against Illinois.
“It’s a balance, because it’s 24/7 hoops all the time, but I have a hard time (because) when I’m watching a game it can inevitably turn into work a little bit,” he said Wednesday afternoon. “My wife says, ‘Just watch Netflix or something. Just watch Narcos.’ It’s hard for me to do that at times, because you’re interested in it, but it can turn into work. I did keep an eye on it. Probably more league stuff than Duke-Louisville. I watched the last minute or two of that because I was curious (and) it was getting close, but league stuff you’re taking (note)."Join the conversation at Facebook.com/BuckeyeXtra and connect with us on Twitter @BuckeyeXtra
Holtmann said he watched a little bit of Penn State’s 75-69 home upset of No. 6 Michigan. He also watched his former team, Butler, take a 77-73 road loss to St. John’s in overtime.
Nationally, the Duke game generated the biggest headlines. Trailing by 23 points with 9:58 remaining and started to carve into the deficit with a basket with 9:07, starting a 35-10 run to close the game and pull out a 71-69 win at Louisville.
Ohio State freshman guard Luther Muhammad said he was watching that game.
“It was crazy,” he said. “I feel like, don’t get complacent. Don’t get comfortable. On this level, a 20-point lead is nothing. Watching that, keep that in your head every time you’re on the floor. If you think you’ve got a comfortable lead, don’t get comfortable. Stay with it.”
Elsewhere in the Big Ten, Michigan State went to Wisconsin and won by eight points and Maryland blew past visiting Purdue with a 40-18 second-half scoring advantage. The Spartans and Wolverines are now tied atop the Big Ten standings, a half-game ahead of the Boilermakers and just one game ahead of the surprising Terrapins.
“A lot of tough teams played last night,” Ohio State sophomore Kaleb Wesson said. “It’s getting down to where these games are meaning something. Big games in February. It’s really meaning something to these teams and grinding out wins is something you need.”
The other headline out of the Michigan game was the surprise ejection of coach John Beilein, who earned two technical fouls at the close of the first half with the Wolverines trailing by 13 points. It is believed to be only the second ejection of Beilein’s career and the first in roughly 40 years.
It raises the question: What would it take for Holtmann, who has been called for two technical fouls this season, to be ejected from a game?
“I would probably just have to be tired of watching the game,” he said. “I hope I don’t ever get ejected, and John’s terrific. We all know that. I’m not here to say one way or the other whether he should’ve been. I didn’t even really watch that part of it. I get technicals to defend our guys but I won’t ever get them (for this reason): ‘Listen, I’m going to try to motivate you by getting a technical.’ I’d rather not give up a couple points to motivate our guys.
“I’m genuinely upset (when I get a technical foul), so it’s not an act, but I’ve never been particularly proud of those moments. They happen. I’m not sure if I can go 40 years, but hopefully I’ll have a similar record.”