Two days prior to heading to Washington D.C., where his team will take on Rutgers in the opening round of the Big Ten Tournament, Ohio State men’s basketball head coach Thad Matta joined the Big Ten coaches teleconference to preview the Buckeyes’ upcoming postseason appearance.
Here are some highlights of what Matta had to say on Monday morning:
• Matta mentioned the need for junior guard Kam Williams to not only make shots, but get back to the defense he’s capable of playing.
• Asked about Rutgers’ improvement over the course of the season, Matta said he’s been more focused on Ohio State’s film than its opponent. Said the Scarlet Knights are capable of playing “great basketball,” particularly when it comes to switching defenses.
• Matta was asked if it’s possible that the Buckeyes’ have improved from a year ago, even if their record hasn’t. Matta said he wasn’t sure, but noted that Ohio State had a challenging start to the Big Ten schedule with the road games and that the Buckeyes didn’t regroup as quickly as they needed to.
• “We need that consistency,” he said. “It’s a new season. We’ve gotta get ourselves ready to roll.”
• Matta said he hasn’t though whether or not Ohio State would accept a bid to the NIT should it miss out on the NCAA Tournament. “If we’re fortunate enough to keep winning, we’ll see what we can do.”
• A reporter asked Matta about Michigan State freshman Miles Bridges. “He’s really a heck of a basketball player,” Matta said. Asked for a comparison, Matta said he couldn’t come up with one due to the combination of size and athleticism Bridges possesses.
Eleventh-seeded Ohio State and the No. 14 Scarlet Knights will tipoff from the Verizon Center on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. ET. The winner will advance to take on sixth-seeded Northwestern on Thursday night.