COLUMBUS — Ohio State’s losing streak was extended to five games this week, but head coach Chris Holtmann and his Buckeyes are looking to get back on track with a win at Nebraska on Saturday. The game will be played at noon on FS1.
On Friday, Holtmann, senior guard C.J. Jackson and freshman forward Justin Ahrens spoke with the media to preview the game and discuss moving forward.
Here’s a summary of what was said.
+ Quick turnaround with Nebraska. They have a starting group that is experienced and has won a lot of games together in this league. He can tell they are a motivated group. He has never played there but he has heard that it is an underrated environment and game day experience.
+ He is seeing some common themes with this team but when you’re struggling you plug a hole and another one seems to pop up. Good teams have a way of being sound in a lot of areas and they have some areas that have caused them trouble consistently. Sometimes it takes a win to help plug those holes, especially for the players.
+ They are in a results business but they try to evaluate it day by day. They are committed to getting better at those areas from one game to the next and one practice to the next. They are process driven but a win affects mood and confidence.
+ There are turnovers that are part of the game and they don’t have to go see Q, and the other ones are the ones they go see Q for immediately in practice. There are some that are preventable and those can be avoided with making better decisions. Those are the ones that are within their control.
+ On Kaleb Wesson being officiated, he has had additional conversations with the Big Ten. They are going to continue to express their feelings and fight for those things that need to be addressed. But they still want to control what they can control and that is how disciplined they are in those situations.
+ It has affected Wesson because he is frustrated. He wants to play and have an impact but he is a big guy that is an easy target. He does know that he has to do better but he gets frustrated with some of those calls, as they all do. They have to respond better, coaches and players.
+ On effectiveness playing smaller against Purdue, he thought the ball moved a lot better. The ball has to move more than what it did, sometimes it sticks and traps have been fairly effective against them. Whatever lineup they are in, the ball has to move more. He doesn’t know how consistently they can play like that with the sizes of guys they are going to face.
+ The expectation for everybody is to make effort plays, but Justin Ahrens has made some big plays. It’s a quality that always needs to be consistent with how Ahrens is as a player. Credit to him that he has kept himself ready. He can teach others that from film work and calling it out when the play isn’t made. Playing hard against Purdue wasn’t an issue.
+ They are trying to pour themselves into finding a way to play better. The staff needs to stay committed to this group.
+ He has called his go-to guys throughout this stretch. It’s not a long list of people but he has called them to have conversations and to get advice for what to do in these situations. They have been really helpful.
+ There have been positives coming from each game. That’s what he’s trying to show the guys. They have to do more of those positive moments and positive play and build upon that.
+ Nebraska is really active with their hands and that has been an issue with is group. It is a point of emphasis coming into the game. The defense needs to be more effective.
+ He just doesn’t think this team is going to be good at getting to the line. But they can make it more of an emphasis moving forward.
+ Kyle Young also has the flu now. Duane Washington is feeling better.
+ On drawing fouls and seeking contact, he said they can definitely do a better job of getting to the line more and seeking contact.
+ They were able to play better with the smaller lineup. They made better shots late in the game. Seeing that group out there was definitely a good thing for the team.
+ Nobody wants to lose but everybody has to stay positive we have to keep learning on what they can improve on. Every game they have to learn from past experiences.
+ One of the biggest keys for the team now is taking care of the ball. The turnovers put them in bad positions and they especially have to do better at Nebraska in a hostile environment.
+ They have to be who they are and get back to doing the things that made them successful in the beginning of the season. The successful defense translates to the offense.
+ Against Nebraska, they have to be the tougher team and come in ready to play.
+ Noon games aren’t anything different for them. The coaching staff puts together a great schedule.
+ Getting better at getting to the free throw line comes with getting better at the perimeter and attacking gaps.
+ On his extended minutes, he says it’s a confidence booster. But he has to stay ready and do whatever it takes to help the team win, whether that’s on the bench or on the court.
+ On staying ready to play in games, he says it starts with keeping a positive mindset in practice, whether he is practicing or playing on the scout team. He has to go hard everyday and not give up. In games when he’s on the bench, he has to keep the energy up and be ready to produce when his number is called.
+ Coach told Ahrens that he wants to see him hustle more and get after more lose balls.
+ Nebraska has a lot of guys that can score. They are tall and athletic and they can shoot the ball well. They have to make those winning plays on Saturday.
+ It’s important to not have the long lapses in games. They have to forget about it and move on to the next play and the next possession. When they turnover, they have to worry about the next possession and getting the ball back.
+ Even though they’ve been losing they are learning a lot. The next day after the losses they were in the film room studying and fixing their mistakes. If they continue to do that they’ll see the results.
+ It was a dream playing with his brother against Michigan State. He’s really happy for him. He had a lot of family at that game. When they were younger, they would always talk about being able to play sports at a higher level. They both went through injuries and it’s cool how it panned out.
+ He feels like he is ready for the college level but it was a transition. He’s good at feeding the post and he’s a shooter.
You can watch the full videos below.
C.J. Jackson and Justin Ahrens
C.J. Jackson and Justin Ahrens preview Nebraska
Posted by The Ozone on Friday, January 25, 2019
Head coach Chris Holtmann previews Nebraska
Posted by The Ozone on Friday, January 25, 2019