Big Ten apologized to Chris Holtmann for second technical against Wisconsin

Less than 24 hours after a 77-69 loss at Michigan, Ohio State men’s basketball coach Chris Holtmann held his weekly radio show Monday.

It’s been a rough month for the Buckeyes, who beat Northwestern on New Year’s Day to move to 10-3 overall and 2-0 in Big Ten play but have since won just once. Starting with a Jan. 5 home loss to No. 1 Purdue, Ohio State lost five straight games by single digits, beat Iowa by 16 points on Jan. 21 and now has lost four more in a row capped by the loss to the Wolverines.

Ohio State will host Northwestern on Thursday to kick off what will be a slate of largely home games. The Buckeyes play five of their next seven at Value City Arena and will follow the game against the Wildcats with a Sunday tip against Michigan State.

In case you weren’t able to listen to the show, here are the highlights.

Ohio State Buckeyes: Join the Ohio State Sports Insider text group with Bill Rabinowitz, Joey Kaufman Adam Jardy

Ohio State injury report remains light

Zed Key continues to wear a brace on his left shoulder and Felix Okpara walked into the Crisler Center with a walking boot on his right foot, but Holtmann said the team is mostly just dealing with regular bumps and bruises common for this time of year.

“I would guess if you asked Zed he’d say he doesn’t feel 100% because of his shoulder,” Holtmann said. “Felix’s foot bothers him a little bit. Roddy (Gayle) had an ankle injury last week. By and large, our health right now is OK.”

Holtmann said Key is still working on his conditioning as well as adjusting to a more significant role in his third season.

"He’s had some very good starts to the seasons and middle of the seasons," Holtmann said. "Potentially, it’s maybe physically wearing down. He really needs to focus on finishing this season well and on a high note. I do think his conditioning can improve. It’s better than it’s ever been. He’s going against big bodies. He can get really frustrated with himself when he misses a few around the basket, but there’s so many ways he can impact a game."

Buckeyes begin rare homestand

For the first time since hosting non-conference games in late December, Ohio State will play consecutive games at Value City Arena this week. It’s one factor that Holtmann said he’s not been particularly pleased with in regards to the schedule this season.

Only getting Michigan and Indiana on the road, and having few weekend home games, are also on the list.

“I have some thoughts on the schedule,” Holtmann said. “Some of those I’ll keep private, because I want to be careful what I say. I think there are some things with this year’s schedule that we have voiced. Some of the teams we’re only playing once and are playing on the road that are games that typically have been valuable and important games for us.

“As well as the fact that this is the least amount of weekend home games we’ve had since we’ve been here. Weekend home games are different. We’re not saying that’s the reason why we’ve had the moments we’ve had. It was frustrating early. To be back-ended with home games, we’ve had that before. That can be a bit frustrating. I’m OK with that in some ways because we’ve managed it well at times. Some of the games you’d like to do home-and-home and the weekend home games have been what’s frustrating.”

Big Ten called, apologized for second technical foul against Wisconsin

Holtmann took a submitted question about the two technical fouls he received in short order during the final minute of the first half in last Thursday’s loss to Wisconsin.

“I received two calls from the Big Ten office of officiating basically apologizing for the second technical,” he said. “They felt like it was not warranted and far too quick and just felt like it was an error in judgment and made that known. I appreciated both of those calls.”

After the game, Holtmann said he wasn’t permitted to talk to the officials during the game and said he clearly deserved the first technical. It was the second that he had an issue with, particularly after the block/charge call that went against the Buckeyes in that moment.

“I felt like in some ways the second one was just, it was personal,” he said. “It felt like that, and I didn’t understand why. I appreciated the Big Ten reaching out and saying that. It still cost us four points. I’ve got to find a way to be better in that moment, because those were four critical points in that game. There really was no explanation because I couldn’t talk to the specific official.

“No issue with that (first one), but it was good to hear from the Big Ten that what I felt at the time was validated.”

Without Holtmann, associate head coach Jake Diebler took over the lead duties.

"Jake did a great job leading them," he said.

Ohio State considering changing how it coaches flopping

This year, college players have been issued technical fouls for flopping when embellishing contact on a charge. As the year has gone on, Holtmann said it’s been officiated differently.

“Maybe the mistake was to put a technical with it,” he said. “Maybe you give a warning and the second one is a technical, or maybe you just don’t call it.”

It’s got Ohio State considering teaching the situation differently.

“You almost wonder if we don’t need to teach the technique better,” Holtmann said. “The idea of taking that second hit and falling. I’m not sure that maybe we’ve taught that well enough because they talked so much in the offseason about it not being rewarded, and early in the season it was not. Now it’s gotten to the point where even in yesterday’s game I took issue with a similar call on a back-down where there was an offensive foul called.

“Do we need to say we need to take more hits and fall and work on that technique? I’ve never really done that, but maybe we need to. The guys that do it well can make it look like you really took a hit. That’s why they put the rule in.”

Ohio State solidifying its rotation

A few players have moved in and out of the starting lineup, but Ohio State is settling into a rotation that includes Gene Brown III but doesn’t appear to include Tanner Holden.

“We feel like Gene can help us rebound the ball better,” Holtmann said. “He gives us length defensively. Typically he plays pretty hard. We need that right now. He’s moved into the rotation. That’s ultimately going to move somebody out. That’s what we’ve decided as coaches.

“We’re establishing now what our eight- or nine-man rotation is going to be and for the most part continue to look at that in this final stretch and see what that looks like. You’d like everybody to be able to play.”

The decision to bring Brice Sensabaugh off the bench at Michigan was more about making sure he was available down the stretch after fouling out against Wisconsin.

“The main thing was the foul trouble he got into in the previous game and it was trying to steal a couple minutes,” he said. “It’s going to be starter-type minutes. The reality is it’s really about who’s finishing the game the last 5-6 minutes versus who’s starting.”


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This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Chris Holtmann says Big Ten apologized for second technical foul