Today’s Topic: How Did Chris Holtmann Handle the Waiting Game?
After the loss to Michigan State in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals on Friday, Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann was confident that the Buckeyes had done enough to earn an NCAA Tournament bid.
But then came the waiting.
Two. Long. Days.
A lot can go through a person’s head when all they have is time and doubts.
“I gotta be honest with you, I was a little nervous,” Holtmann said of his experience watching CBS’ selection show. “After you go through that first bracket and you see Belmont and Temple get in, because you knew that probably eliminated one or two teams.
“As I told Gene Smith, yesterday I felt we were solidly on the 11-line, maybe even a 10. As each hour passed today and I studied the numbers, I studied myself into absolute paranoia. I just had to stop. Thank God we had practice so I could just stop looking at it. I mean, I was worried. I just got too worked up.”
There is tons of data to page through if you want to find it. NET rankings. Quadrant wins. Strength of schedule. And even if you don’t want to find it, it still has a way of seeping into the concerns of the concerned.
“I didn’t start looking at it until the last two weeks,” Holtmann said. “I felt like after the Iowa game if we got one more win we were going to be in good shape because of no bad losses, non-conference, and your road wins, which are important to the committee. Can you win away from home? But it took us a while for us to get the other win there, so it was dicey.”
A year ago, Holtmann knew the Buckeyes were in, so there was much less drama. They ended up being a 5-seed and drawing 12-seed South Dakota State. This time around they had to wait a half-hour into the show before finding out they’d be an 11-seed facing a 6-seed Iowa State.
How did this year compare to last year?
“Miserable outcome,” he said. “Much better last year. Way better. Slept better. Then, it was just looking at 5/12 games, which are really dangerous games, and it proved to be dangerous for us last year. We knew it was 4, 5, or 6 last year. This year we thought 10, 11, play-in, is kind of what we thought.
“But like I said, I talked myself out of everything. I’ve never really been in this place. The other four times, you kind of knew. One year we were an 8 or 9, but you pretty much know at that point you’re gonna be in. Here, I felt strongly, but also you read enough stuff and you don’t know.”
As they did last year, the entire team and the coaches’ families got together to watch the show. Last year was much less stressful, at least for the adults.
“It was a tense room,” Holtmann said. “A very quiet room, with the exception of [assistant coach] Terry Johnson’s crazy boys. They were playing in a side room. All of them. We had like 15 little kids with a door shut in a play room right beside us. So apart from them being loud and obnoxious, it was – and they are loud and obnoxious by the way, they’re great kids, but they’re loud and obnoxious.
“It was tense in the room just because you’ve got two more regions and you kind of know you’re in that slot of 11, so you’re running out of options. You could hear a pin drop when the 6, when Iowa State came up, because we knew ‘Hey, is that going to be us?’”