The Eleven Warriors Web Report Looks Back On The Final Weekend Of The Ohio State Basketball Season, And Ahead To The Future Of Chris Holtmann's Program

By 11W Staff on March 20, 2018 at 4:13 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 is all about Ohio State men's basketball after its season came to an end in the second round of the NCAA Tournament with a 90-84 loss to Gonzaga on Saturday.

That said, the loss wasn't exactly unexpected, and it shouldn't take away from what was otherwise a highly successful first season at Ohio State for Chris Holtmann, so the guys didn't spend much time dwelling on the defeat.

Instead, the panel discussed how Holtmann – who loses Jae'Sean Tate, Kam Williams, Andrew Dakich and presumably Keita Bates-Diop from his roster – can keep the Buckeyes on the up and up going into his second season. 

"You have to build around the pieces that have experience," said Grega, fresh off of covering the Buckeyes' trip to Boise. "You need to build around Kaleb Wesson, you need to build around C.J. Jackson and their skills that are coming back."

For Holtmann to have sustained success at Ohio State – and to improve attendance at Value City Arena – he must keep going the buzz that has built around the program in the past few months. Hope believes Holtmann can borrow from the Buckeye football program as a model for how to promote his program to recruits and to the fan base.

"I think Holtmann's done a good job already of finding ways to connect with the Ohio State fans, but I think that's going to be important," Hope said. "This program needed a new identity. I think it has it now. Now it's on Holtmann, through winning on the court to winning the recruiting battles and to kind of how you promote the program, it's all about building it up now."

Although the past four days didn't go the way Ohio State sports fans would have wanted – both basketball teams were eliminated in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, both hockey teams lost postseason games in overtime and the wrestling team also came up short of a national title – there were still moments within that were worth celebrating, so the panel also shared their top memories from the week that was in Buckeye athletics.

Grega said his top moment was interviewing Williams after Ohio State's first-round NCAA Tournament win over South Dakota State, in which Williams was fouled on back-to-back late-game 3-point attempts, turning those two shots into seven points that ultimately made the difference in the Buckeyes' first March Madness win since 2015.

"This is a kid, he's been through a lot this year," Grega said. "To see him perform on that stage, and hit that level of a shot on that stage, was really cool to see. And to see the rest of the team just support him and rally around him in the locker room ... that was really cool to see."

Bishop, however, said that although March Madness is his favorite sporting event of the year, his top moment of the weekend was watching Kyle Snyder wrestle his third consecutive NCAA heavyweight championship to cap off his Ohio State career.

"Kyle Snyder's excellence at Ohio State, and what he's accomplished here and internationally, puts him on a level – and I don't say this lightly, and I say it without an ounce of hyperbole – it puts him on a level with Jack Nicklaus and Jesse Owens," Bishop said. 

To hear more of what Bishop, Grega and Hope had to say about Ohio State's trip to the NCAA Tournament, Chris Holtmann's first season with the Buckeyes and what his second season in Columbus could look like, tune into the Eleven Warriors Report on Spectrum Sports Mid-Ohio, which airs at 7 p.m. Tuesday and re-airs throughout the week.

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