NCAA Tournament 2018: Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann calls out media after victory
South Dakota State was a popular pick to upset Ohio State in the first round
In an effort to motivate his players, Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann turned to the classic move of telling the team that no one thinks they can win. Holtmann knew there were going to be some experts picking South Dakota State; after all, it was a classic 5-12 spot in the bracket and the Jackrabbits certainly have the potential to score with anyone as long as star forward Mike Daum is on the floor.
Holtmann probably didn't expect to find South Dakota State to be such a trendy pick, and therefore get to tell his team all about how no one believed in the Buckeyes.
"I just want to thank all the fine, smart, clever journalists that didn't pick us," Holtmann said during his postgame interview, before turning his attention to the camera and adding, "and trust me, our guys were aware of that, so I appreciate that."
Chris Holtmann with some words for all of those who picked against Ohio State: pic.twitter.com/7aMP5z6tKC— Dean Straka (@dwstraka49) March 15, 2018
My ears were burning on Thursday afternoon because I was one of those fine, smart and clever journalists to pick South Dakota State. I was enamored by Daum, and concerned by the fact that Ohio State lost three of its final five games, including getting bounced by Penn State in the Big Ten tournament. What I did not expect was such a strong performance from Kam Williams (22 points, five rebounds, three steals), who proved to be the difference-maker in the Buckeyes' 81-73 win.
But we weren't alone! In addition to the fine, smart and clever journalists who incorrectly picked South Dakota State was 19.9 percent of CBS Sports Bracket Game participants, all now lacking valuable points after siding against Ohio State.
It's been nearly two weeks since Ohio State was last in action, and given this performance on Thursday, it's worth reassessing their ceiling in the NCAA Tournament. The Buckeyes' performance was sharper than what we saw from Gonzaga in its narrow win against UNC-Greensboro, and suddenly the Zags' supposedly easy path to the Sweet 16 in the West Regional is looking much more challenging. Gonzaga might end up being the betting favorite, but Ohio State fans are going to feel much better about their chances after seeing Thursday's action.
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