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Feb 5, 2024 8:03 pm

Hot seat growing for Chris Holtmann as Ohio State takes on Indiana

chris holtmann

Ohio State hopes a two-game homestand, beginning with Indiana on Tuesday in Columbus, can stop a monthlong tailspin that has coach Chris Holtmann on the hot seat.

The Buckeyes (13-9, 3-8 Big Ten) have lost four straight and seven of eight in a downfall similar to last season, when they endured a nine-game losing streak and losses in 14 of 15 games during January and February.

A 79-77 loss at Iowa on Friday was their 15th consecutive road defeat since Jan. 1, 2023, but with Indiana (13-9, 5-6) and Maryland (13-9, 5-6) visiting this week, the Buckeyes see a chance for a reversal in fortunes.

“There’s still time for the tables to turn,” Ohio State forward Jamison Battle said. “I think we have more than enough in this locker room and I think there’s belief in this locker room that we can do it.”

Holtmann is 29-28 (8-23 Big Ten) the past two seasons as calls for a change grow in Columbus.

“I’m focused on just getting better in the day in front of us,” Holtmann said. “I think all that noise is way more attention for people on the outside than it is us. When you’re in sports, you have to focus on what’s most important.”

The Hoosiers are coming off a disheartening 85-71 home loss to Penn State on Saturday. Indiana led by 11 points with 5:15 remaining in the first half but were outscored 62-37 the rest of the way.

Indiana coach Mike Woodson wants his team playing with more “fire.”

“I’m not going to throw my guys under the bus,” he said. “They didn’t just perform the second half. They didn’t. They didn’t. They were flat as hell.

“We’ve had our ups and our downs this year, no doubt about that. But I look at the points. You gave up 85 points. You’re not beating anybody in the Big Ten doing that. You have a chance when you’re trying to hold teams to 65 and under in the Big Ten. And when we’ve done that, we’ve been pretty successful.”

Malik Reneau (16.0 points per game) and Kel’el Ware (15.3 points, 9.5 rebounds per game) lead four Indiana players scoring in double figures. Bruce Thornton (15.6 ppg), Battle (14.2) and Roddy Gayle Jr. (14.0) fuel Ohio State’s offense.

–Field Level Media

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