COLUMBUS — Ohio State men’s basketball coach Chris Holtmann and senior guards CJ Jackson and Keyshawn Woods spoke with reporters Sunday evening to provide some updates on what the team thinks of making the NCAA Tournament and provide a bit of a preview of Friday’s game with Iowa State (9:50 pm, TBS). Here are the highlights of what was said, with the videos of both sessions below the updates.
+ It’s always good to see the media, but it’s even better to see them under these circumstances.
+ Getting to the tournament is not an entitlement. It’s something that has to be earned, and it’s hard.
+ Not until Thad Matta did Ohio State make it to the tournament more than three years in a row.
+ Making the tourney this year is a real credit to the players. It’s a real credit to the upperclassmen who have steered the ship “and allowed us to be here.” Those guys deserve a lot of credit. “I bristle when I hear that those guys are constantly getting criticized. They deserve to enjoy this moment.”
+ They are now digging into Iowa State. They are obviously a good team having won the Big XII tournament pretty convincingly.
+ It was exciting to see OSU’s name pop up, but he did get nervous seeing other bubble teams appearing because spots were being eliminated. Yesterday he felt they were solidly on the 11-line. As each hour passed today, he studied himself into absolute paranoia. He had to stop. Thank God they had practice, he said.
+ He believes this team needed to play well in the B1G to make it. The win over Indiana was big.
+ This season has been a challenge to figure out who they are and maximize what they are, so this is a gratifying moment for the team.
+ Starting his career at OSU with two trips to the NCAA Tournament is very meaningful to him. “You just can’t explain how happy you are to see your seniors’ faces happy.”
+ He slept much better last year leading up to the selection show.
+ The transfer from UVA that Iowa State is really good. He has seen Iowa State a few times on television, but he has not studied them. He just knows you have to be really good to win the Big XII Tournament. Iowa State is hard to guard and they have a really good coach.
+ It was tense in the viewing room watching the slow, because they know they were slotted around the 11. You could hear a pin drop when Iowa State showed up on the 6-line.
+ This was the most stressful wait-and-see for a tournament bid that he’s ever had.
+ Holtmann went recruiting, so he didn’t watch much of the Big Ten Tournament. Your thoughts are on other things. He went and watched a 2019 signee play in a state playoff game.
+ Justin Ahrens is good. They told him about his brother’s injury after practice. Kyle Ahrens is going to be okay, but Justin was concerned.
+ The pace in the Big XII is a little faster paced “I think.” Iowa State is super versatile with very versatile pieces.
+ The last two days have made him hungrier because they are appreciative to be in, and they have had some good moments in the last two games. “I think you’re really hungry to see…”
+ The team has tomorrow off. They’re pretty happy about that. The coaches will be in the office late tonight watching Iowa State.
+ They will go upstairs after this and watch the last 5-8 Iowa State games. They will watch individually and collectively. Tomorrow and part of Tuesday will be the game planning days. Kyle Davis is the video coordinator and the managers are here working. They have a handful of teams that they prepare for because they always have a good idea of 4-5 teams that it can be.
+ The goal is not to simply make the tournament. They want to make a run.
+ Jackson hasn’t seen Iowa State yet this year.
+ Being able to rest for a couple of days has been good for him in getting ready for the tournament.
+ Neither player has been to Tulsa, Oklahoma.
+ He knows Iowa State is a good offensive team. You see them in highlights during the season, but you don’t really pay attention to it.
+ Everybody is good this time of year so if you don’t bring your ‘A’ game, you’ll lose.
+ This year was different than last year seeing OSU pop up on the selection Sunday show. Last year they knew they were in. This is his last year, so it means a little more.
+ CJ has done some rehabbing, but his favorite thing to do is lay down and rest.
+ He knows the Big XII has a lot of good offenses and players. “It feels like the Big Ten game speed is a little slower at times.”
+ He has not watched any of Iowa State. He hasn’t watched anything since the Buckeyes lost.
+ Iowa State has beaten plenty of ranked teams, but the Buckeyes will give it their all on Friday.
+ Woods didn’t watch any basketball after the loss to Michigan State because he didn’t want to think about whether or not they were in or out.
+ He spent the last two games resting and recovering and watching the past two OSU games. It is about getting ready to play on Friday.
+ He was getting nervous watching the selection show. “You get worried.” They are counting down the regions on TV and you get nervous. Then you see your name on the screen and everybody gets happy. There were a few times he expected to see OSU’s name, but it didn’t happen.
+ He came to Ohio State to play in the NCAA Tournament. This season has had adversity, but they have handled it as best they could.
+ Woods has relied on his teammates this season to get him through his highs and lows.
+ Woods went to see Captain Marvel to take some time off.
+ They spend time getting their bodies ready from here on out. Cold tubs and rest.