Ohio State doesn't play its first game of the week until Wednesday at Northwestern, but the Buckeyes are already having a good start to the workweek.
The Buckeyes entered the Associated Press Top 25 on Monday for the first time since March of 2015, and forward Keita Bates-Diop was named the Big Ten Player of the Week for the third time this season.
Head coach Chris Holtmann joined 97.1 The Fan in Columbus for his weekly radio show to recap the week that was and look ahead to a tough week ahead that sees Ohio State traveling to Northwestern before taking to Madison Square Garden for a matchup with Minnesota.
- Holtmann said he was pleased with the way his team responded to Rutgers' physicality on Sunday night. He credited Ohio State's veterans for responding in a positive way.
- Gave credit to Thad Matta for recruiting quality players that are currently leading the way for Ohio State.
- Mentioned that Ohio State has been able to weather runs from opponents recently because the Buckeyes have done a good job of limiting turnovers.
- Holtmann said he believes there is going to come a time this season where Bates-Diop will have to become more of a passer, as teams will game plan to take him away offensively. Added Bates-Diop won't have a problem with that, as he is a team player.
- Holtmann said he "did not expect" Andrew Dakich to be as good as he has been defensively for Ohio State. "He is a connecter. He connects our team out on the floor."
- More on Dakich: "He has just been a fantastic addition to our locker room."
- On being ranked in the AP Poll: "It's really a credit to our players. (But) we don't put a lot of stock into it. We have such a long ways to go."
- Credited support staff for Ohio State's success on the road. The Buckeyes are 3-0 on the road in conference play this season.
- Walk-on Connor Fulton is out for Ohio State right now with a concussion. Did not travel to Rutgers and isn't likely to travel to Northwestern.
- Holtmann said Kaleb Wesson is still learning how to approach defenses, but is improving his passing as the season goes on. "We need him to be an ultra-efficient player."
- Called Bates-Diop's defensive ability "a game-changer." Bates-Diop blocked five shots in a win over Rutgers.
- On a caller's comments that Bates-Diop will leave for the NBA: "He is solely focussed on helping his team play well." Added, "Regardless of Keita's decision we are going to lose some players."
- Holtmann said Ohio State has room to add one or two more players to its 2018 recruiting class. Mentioned the Buckeyes could go the transfer or graduate transfer route again.
- On D'Angelo Russell coming to Ohio State's game on Sunday: "It's a really cool thing. There are so many (alumni) that stay connected and want us to do well." Added he invited Russell into the postgame locker room to briefly speak to the team.
- Holtmann said his goal coming into Ohio State was building relationships with the players. Added he enjoys coming to work everyday with the group the Buckeyes have right now. "Our chemistry has been outstanding."
- "It's going to be important for us to stay focused on the task at hand," Holtmann said about Ohio State's upcoming stretch of games. The Buckeyes travel to Northwestern on Wednesday, play in MSG on Saturday against Minnesota then return home on Jan. 22 to play Nebraska.