COLUMBUS — No. 16 Ohio State men’s basketball head coach Chris Holtmann met with the media on Tuesday to preview OSU’s game against No. 10 Villanova on Wednesday.
Sophomore guards Duane Washington Jr. and Luther Muhammad also answered questions from reporters.
Here’s a summary of what was said at interviews.
+ Tremendous opponent coming in. A team and program he has an immense amount of respect for. They are a blue blood program in the sport. They have a young team. They are excited about the challenge.
+ Villanova is always one of the toughest teams that he has ever prepared to play. They do not get shook in any way ever. Their teams play with incredible poise.
+ Andre Wesson will be out again for Wednesday.
+ Villanova shrinks the floor in the post. Their size sticks out and they have tremendous size, length, and versatility particularly in the two through the five spots but also at guard.
+ “They are great, not good, elite at keeping the ball out of the post.”
+ This is a game where if you think of a prototypical game where they could use Andre Wesson’s brain and his length, this is certainly a game like that. The Buckeyes will be significantly smaller at the wing spot than they are and they have to counteract that in ways.
+ “You learn a lot about your chemistry when you go through some hard stuff.”
+ They faced a good defensive team against Cincinnati, and Villanova is an elite defensive team. Both are extremely physical and they are being tested early.
+ At halftime against Cincinnati they inverted their offense. The luxury in that situation was Kaleb Wesson.
+ Having a game like this is great for the program and the fans. He hopes it is not understated how important it is. It’s a compliment to the program coming in but to have a team of this caliber is great for the program, this early in the year, at home, is tremendous and he knows the guys are excited. He hopes Buckeye Nation is excited.
+ He hopes to learn how they respond to moments because they will be put in a lot of different situations.
+ He saw Jay Wright’s staff on the recruiting trail this past and they chuckled.
+ It’s always about how your players are performing. They are trying to put their guys in the best possible positions and big games are always about players. He’s friends with Jay Wright and has sought advice from him in the past but it’s not like they’re going to dinner tonight.
+ Playing a better non-conference schedule last season would have helped them. But their schedule did help their young team build confidence before league play.
+ He knows how physical Villanova is in person and they do it without fouling or the perception that they’re not fouling which is an art.
+ Musa Jallow is out of the boot and is able to shoot. He is limited in his movement but is able to stand there and shoot. He still thinks Jallow is a ways out. He also doesn’t have any update on Andre Wesson’s return but thinks that Jallow is further out than Wesson.
+ On playing a top 10 out-of-conference opponent, Muhammad said they have been looking forward to playing them. Everyone is pushing each other and this game is motivation to keep them on top of their game.
+ He looks forward to every game but when Jahvon Quinerly went there, they eventually wanted to play each other. It has kind of been on his mind. It would have been fun playing against him.
Note* The two played together in high school at Hudson Catholic but Quinerly entered the transfer portal in April and is now at Alabama.
+ Every game is different and with the way Villanova plays, they can’t focus on one to two guys. They have to know what everyone on the floor likes to do, not just their man.
+ Muhammad said his defense leads and then the offense follows.
+ This team loves playing together, so passing the ball comes easily because they have chemistry off of the court and that’s showing up on the court.
+ On playing without Andre Wesson, they have a ‘next man up’ mentality. Everybody else has to step up because that’s a huge loss.
+ Coach Holtmann recruits the right guys.
Duane Washington Jr.
+ Defensive details are huge for this team. They are very locked in on the details.
+ Villanova is a really good program. Their coach is very good and Coach Holtmann talked to the team about his past experiences with them. But Washington Jr. said Holtmann recruits guys who live for these moments. They are going to plan plan plan and pay attention to details and it should be a huge game.
+ They take it game by game and as soon as the game on Sunday was over they watched film and started preparing for Villanova. They can’t look ahead.
+ Coach Holtmann has done a good job of approaching this game like every other but the team knows that it might mean a little more to him because they played when he was at Butler.
+ They pride themselves on the 50/50 balls and being the hammer and not the nail. They have to be the more physical team, good defense, clean rebounds, and winning all of the 50/50 balls will be key.
+ Being close on and off the court helps them as a team. They feel more comfortable with each other and they trust each other.
+ Washington Jr. said he is trying to fill the role of Andre Wesson. He told coach he is ready to go out there and perform. But they are excited for Andre to get healthy.
You can watch the full videos below.
Posted by The Ozone on Tuesday, November 12, 2019
Luther Muhammad and Duane Washington Jr.
Posted by The Ozone on Tuesday, November 12, 2019