A preseason poll of Big Ten basketball writers had Ohio State finishing 11th in the conference. Yet on Thursday afternoon, the No. 5 seed Buckeyes will battle 12th-seeded South Dakota State in the opening round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament. They earned this seed thanks to a 24-8 record and a second-place finish behind Michigan State in the conference standings.
Leading this surprising charge was first-year coach Chris Holtmann, who was recognized of his efforts mere hours before the first game tips off Thursday. Holtmann is one of four finalists for the Werner Ladder Naismith Men’s College Coach of the Year.
The four finalists for this year’s @Wernerladderco Naismith Trophy Men’s COY have been announced! Between @RickBarnesUT, Tony Bennett with @UVAMensHoops, @ChrisHoltmann, and @VUCoachJWright, who gets your vote?? Read more at https://t.co/OKqOK9bW0R pic.twitter.com/8pEuvO7WbF
— The Naismith Trophy (@NaismithTrophy) March 15, 2018
The other finalists for the award are Tony Bennett (Virginia), Rick Barnes (Tennessee) and Jay Wright (Villanova). The winner will be recognized during the Naismith Awards brunch on April 1.