The Eleven Warriors Web Report Previews The Big Ten Tournament And Reviews Chris Holtmann's Award-Winning First Season

By 11W Staff on February 27, 2018 at 2:22 pm

The Eleven Warriors Web Report comes to you weekly from the Spectrum Sports studios in downtown Columbus, featuring our own Beau Bishop, Dan Hope and James Grega.

This week's show looks ahead to the upcoming Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament, where Ohio State is set to play its first game in the quarterfinals on Friday at 6:30 p.m., against the winner of Thursday's game between Penn State and Northwestern.

Before getting into tournament talk, though, the guys begin by discussing how Chris Holtmann, fresh off winning the Big Ten Coach of the Year award, has proved to be a perfect fit in his first season leading the Buckeyes.

"He just gets it," Grega said of Holtmann. "He gave ownership of this program to the seniors from day one, which was important to them. They bought in, and everything took off from there. He's hit all the right buttons, all season long, and there's no one more deserving of Big Ten Coach of the Year than him."

Looking ahead to the Buckeyes' upcoming trip to Madison Square Garden, Ohio State still might not be considered one of the favorites to win the conference tournament – even though it is the No. 2 seed – in part because of the potential matchup with Penn State, a team that has beaten the Buckeyes twice this year. The Buckeyes themselves, though, will certainly have their sights set on nothing less than winning the Big Ten Tournament and putting themselves in position for the best NCAA Tournament seed possible.

"I've talked about it before: There's no more moral victories with this team," Hope said. "Your goal is to prove that you're one of the best teams in the country, and to go out and win this tournament, because that's the expectation you've created for yourself."

Grega said he believes the Buckeyes will be a No. 2 seed in the Big Dance if they can win the conference tournament. Even if they lose their first game in the Big Apple, though, Grega still expects the Buckeyes to be no worse than a No. 5 or 6 seed in the NCAA Tournament. 

"The quality of wins they have, and their losses, they really haven't had a bad loss this year ... they haven't lost to a very bad team," Grega said. "So I think the basement is probably a 6, the ceiling I think is a 2."

Bishop said he believes what is most important, though, is not necessarily what seed line the Buckeyes are on but where they are sent to play their first- and second-round games.

"I think if Ohio State can be in Pittsburgh as the 3 seed ... that's a win," Bishop said. "That's a heck of a chance to advance into the Sweet 16, which would be a lot of fun.

"The basement, conversely, would be 6 seed, San Diego. Because I've gone with Ohio State when they played in Portland, and you feel like you're playing in another world."

For more on Ohio State's award-winning week and the upcoming Big Ten Tournament, watch this week's episode of the Eleven Warriors Report on Spectrum Sports Mid-Ohio, which premieres at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

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