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Ohio State’s roster is fitting perfectly for Chris Holtmann

The Buckeyes are 9-0 in conference play, and the roster has gelled to success.

NCAA Basketball: Ohio State at Northwestern Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

“It didn’t happen overnight, but I think we’ve done a great job of fitting each other. I’ve never been on a team where so many people buy in. There’s no hidden agendas in that locker room. None. And you don’t see that a lot.”

- Jae’Sean Tate via Doug Lesmerises, Cleveland.com

It seems like yesterday that the Ohio State Buckeyes were free-falling in the world of college basketball. Now, with Chris Holtmann at the helm, he’s led the team to a 9-0 start in Big Ten play, with his latest win against Nebraska. The reason for the success might be credited somewhat to former head coach Thad Matta - at least, in terms of the roster. Keita Bates-Diop, Jae’Sean Tate, and the rest of the team have come together very nicely; the balance of both the inside and outside game has made it tough on opponents to defend for the entire game.

The latest projections for the Buckeyes have them currently sitting as a three-seed in the NCAA tournament. When only a month or so ago, Ohio State was considered at best a bubble team. The win over Michigan State has ignited some fiery passion for basketball in Columbus and the Buckeyes are taking full advantage of it. There are only nine games left in the regular season, and a marquee matchup against another top Big Ten team in Purdue.

“I thought we were as good as both teams. I think we’re a very elite group. Us being there would have been enjoyable, but we didn’t make it, so it’s over with. That’s last season.”

- Johnnie Dixon via Doug Lesmerises, Cleveland.com

Even after the win over USC in the Cotton Bowl, Ohio State players still think about what could have been had they made the College Football Playoff. Players watching the national title game between Georgia and Alabama felt like the Buckeyes could have played at that level just as well. Many of the players mentioned the decision Nick Saban made to bench Jalen Hurts in favor of Tua Tagovailoa and how that move further legitimized Saban as a top coach in college football (as if he needed any more vindication).

But Ohio State players know there’s work to be done if the Buckeyes expect to find themselves in the College Football Playoff at the end of next season. With a new quarterback replacing J.T. Barrett, it will be imperative for them to gel quickly with the seasoned veterans at wide receiver and running back and grab hold of the offense.

“[Top 50 Prospects for NFL Draft] Rank 8: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State”

- Daniel Jeremiah, NFL.com

Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com released his top 50 prospects heading into the 2018 NFL draft. Ohio State had three members included on the list of the top 50 including Denzel Ward, Billy Price, and Sam Hubbard. Ward, the highest of the three, was ranked eighth overall and could be a future top 10 pick in the upcoming draft. He sat out the Cotton Bowl against USC and certainly has high aspirations in the NFL. Price meanwhile entered the ranks at 30th, with his versatility to play either guard or center at the next level ensures he’ll be a hot commodity in the draft at some point.

Hubbard was the last Buckeye on the list and he made the cut at 41st overall. Hubbard has played defensive end for Ohio State over the past few seasons and established himself as a true threat in the pass rush. Either way, Urban Meyer has yet again put in top-tier talent into the draft and still managed to bring a lot of it back for the 2018 season.

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