Ohio State men’s basketball coach Chris Holtmann says his team’s strong performance this year hasn’t been enough to silence the critics. So, whatever their seed in the Big Ten Tournament, he wants his Buckeyes to act like an underdog.
At the start of the Ohio State men’s basketball season, most analysts had picked the Buckeyes to finish 11th or 12th in the Big Ten conference.
Coach Chris Holtmann’s team would defy those expectations in going 24-7 and earning the number two seed for the Big Ten Tournament.
Those 24 victories are the most by a first-year coach in program history, but Holtmann doesn’t want his players to lose the approach they had at the beginning of the year.
“Hopefully our guys play with the necessary chip that’s required, and if not, it’s going to show in our play,” he said.
That’s especially true if the Buckeyes end up taking on Penn State. The Nitanny Lions have beaten the Scarlet and Gray twice this year, including a 79-56 win about two weeks ago.
“As competitors, you always want to play the team that beat you,” acknowledged point guard CJ Jackson, “but Penn State doesn’t have an easy task against Northwestern. Whichever team wins, we’re going to be ready and be prepared for either one.”
That being said, Ohio State could probably erase a lot of doubts should they get to face Penn State and come out victorious.
And there are doubts, admits Holtmann.
None of those questions, though, exists internally according to forward Andre Wesson.
“I think we should be favored to do pretty well,” he said. “We beat a lot of good teams this year. We’ve done good this year, so I feel like we have all the pieces we need on this team to win.”
Penn State plays Northwestern Thursday at 6:30 p.m. The Buckeyes will face the winner of that one at 6:30 p.m. on Friday
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