Two-Minute Drill: Inside Ohio State’s Postgame
By Brandon Castel
CHICAGO — Ohio State won its third Big Ten Tournament title in four years on Sunday, beating Wisconsin 50-43 in the championship game.
The Buckeyes were rewarded with a No. 2 seed in the West Region, where they will play 15-seed Iona on Friday in Dayton. If they get past the first weekend, Ohio State would advance to play on Thursday in Los Angeles next week.
Here’s a look at what Thad Matta and his players had to say about the win over Wisconsin, the Big Ten title and their seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Beating the Badgers
* Matta didn't expect either team to shoot the ball well because legs are tired. Told his guys they would win with their athleticism.
* Matta said tired legs hurt Deshaun's shooting today, but not his decision to shoot. Was happy he eventually decided to go inside more.
* Thomas on what he has to do to get his shooting touch back: "Just keep shooting."
* Matta said B1G Tournament typically gets glossed over because it happens right before Selection Show, but he's going to cherish this.
* Matta never panicked after loss to Wisconsin because he always thinks big picture. Knew this team had talent, but wasn't sure of toughness.
* Thomas on cutting down the nets: "I'm used to it by now, I've been doing it my whole life."
* Lenzelle Smith Jr. was clutching the Big Ten trophy against his chest. As an older guy, he has learned to really appreciate these moments.
* Smith: “Next year is my last year and I might be in here crying instead, so I'm going to enjoy this.”
* Talking to the OSU players, it seems they were just as motivated to beat Wisconsin as they were to win the B1G title today.
* Matta on whether he's proud of the fact OSU has been a 1 or 2 seed in 6 of last 8 years: "Hell yeah, I am. Do you know how hard that is?"
* Matta said Buckeyes will get on the bus take a deep breath and enjoy what they accomplished for a few minutes before scouting Iona.
* Evan Ravenel thinks the game against Gonzaga was their toughest win of the tournament last year. Zags are the 1-seed in West Region.
* Ravenel said the one thing he learned during last year’s Final Four run was not to look ahead. Focus on one game at a time.
* Thompson said the one thing he learned during the Final Four run was that one half of basketball can cost you everything.
* Matta said the same thing. Looking back at the last two years, one bad half of basketball has knocked them out of the tournament.
Q Turning the Page
* Matta said he thinks LaQuinton Ross "turned the page" this weekend with three solid games in Chicago. Said he's more engaged.
* Matta said he kept telling his guys someone had to step up and make a play, "and today that was LaQuinton."
* Matta said he was especially proud of the way Ross rebounded the basketball and with his defense today in the post.
* Sam Thompson said their small lineup with Thomas at the five and Ross at the four should allow them to get up and down with anyone in the Dance.
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