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Comparing Ohio State men’s basketball’s 10 game start to the rest of Holtmann’s tenure

The Buckeyes have not played in 19 days, so what else are we going to talk about?

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

It might be hard to remember at this point, but we are in the middle of the college basketball season and — in theory — in the middle of the Ohio State men’s basketball season as well. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Buckeyes have not played a game since Dec. 11, but will (hopefully) be back on the court tonight against Nebraska. The Buckeyes last three scheduled games against Kentucky, UT Martin and New Orleans have all been canceled due to COVID concerns in the Ohio State basketball program, resulting in a three-week hiatus.

Since we haven’t exactly had a ton of games to break down recently (let’s just be positive and call it an extended Christmas break), we are going to take a look back at the other Chris Holtmann-led seasons and see how this team stacks up at the 10-game point in the season, and what that might mean come season’s end.


2017-18 Final Record: 25-9 (15-3)

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round-Ohio State vs Gonzaga Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

End of season stats:

PPG: 76.2
Opponent PPG: 67.6
FG%: 48.0
3-FG%: 35.3
FT%: 73.1
Record through 10 games: 7-3

Outlook: This was the first season of Chris Holtmann’s OSU tenure and the team was a pleasant surprise. The Buckeyes were coming off of two seasons in which they missed the NCAA Tournament to wrap up the Ohio State career of the legendary Thad Matta, and no one really knew what to expect with a new coach coming in, as accomplished as he was for being so early in his career.

Through the first 10 games, the team was still figuring itself out and really trying to find their footing. They were 7-3, but the losses were in blowouts to Gonzaga and Clemson and an overtime loss against Butler. They had won all of the games that they were supposed to, but weren’t able to beat any of the quality opponents that they faced.

However, all of that turned around once conference play began. In games nine and 10 of the season, Ohio State defeated two solid Big Ten opponents in Wisconsin and Michigan and then took on the No. 1 Michigan State Spartans and absolutely blew the doors off of them.

The Buckeyes would ride this hot start in conference play to a 15-3 record and a top five seed in the NCAA tournament, finishing second in the Big Ten.


2018-19 Final Record: 20-15 (8-12)

NCAA Basketball: Ohio State at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

End of season stats:

PPG: 69.1
Opponent PPG: 66.2
FG%: 43.4
3-FG%: 34.1
FT%: 73.4
Record through 10 games: 9-1

Outlook: This was one of the those seasons were conference play took a toll on the Buckeyes. This season was as good as the Big Ten has ever been and a fairly young and inexperienced Ohio State team felt it. The Buckeyes were 9-1 through 10 games, but five of those nine wins were by single digits.

Once they hit conference play, they went 1-6 in January and weren’t even close to competitive in a couple of those games. However, they did defeat Iowa State in the NCAA tournament after being a bubble team, so that was a positive.


2019-20 Final Record: 21-10 (11-9)

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch Barbara J. Perenic/Columbus Dispatch via Imagn Content Services, LLC

End of years stats:

PPG: 72.1
Opponent PPG: 62.9
FG%: 44.6
3-FG%: 37.3
FT%: 75.2
Record through 10 games: 9-1

Outlook: This was a very interesting team because they never got to see the NCAA Tournament, but after a rough patch during conference play, the Buckeyes were playing at an extremely high level heading into what would have been the postseason, but COVID ruined that opportunity.

The only real criticism of Holtmann during his time in Columbus is that he hasn’t yet had a team make the Sweet 16, but I do believe that given how they were playing in spring 2020, this would have been the team.

This team was 9-1 through 10 games with some crazy wins on the resume. The Buckeyes had already beaten Villanova by 25 points, North Carolina by 25, Penn State by 32 and Cincinnati by 8. They started 9-0 and lost their tenth game to Minnesota.

This was a team with average expectations coming into the season that started to get pretty high after the best 10-game start under Holtmann. This was a legit 9-1, unlike the previous season.


2020-21 Final Record: 21-10 (12-8)

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch via Imagn Content Services, LLC

End of years stats

PPG: 77.2
Opponent PPG: 71.1
FG%: 45.9
3-FG%: 36.0
FT%: 75.6
Record through 10 games: 8-2

Outlook: Everyone knows the story with this team and how painfully their season ended. One of the best offensive teams that the Buckeyes have had in a long time, OSU earned a No. 2 seed in last season’s NCAA Tournament and then lost to No. 15 Oral Roberts. A solid 15 seed, but a game that the Buckeyes should have won regardless.

Through 10 games, they were 8-0 against non-conference teams and 0-2 in the conference with close losses to Purdue and Northwestern. This team was still trying to gain their footing and was very inconsistent through December and parts of January.

However, from there, the Buckeyes spent seven weeks in the top 10 of the AP Poll. This was a complete team on paper, but they never quite got healthy during the season and that clearly prevented them from accomplishing what they were ultimately capable of.


2021-22 Current Record: 8-2 (2-0)

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

Current stats (10 games)

PPG: 75.7
Opponent PPG: 67.5
FG%: 49.1
3-FG%: 38.6
FT%: 72.7

Outlook: Based on what we’ve seen through their first 10 games of the 2021-22 season, I believe that the potential of this year’s Buckeye team is through the roof. They’ve already knocked off good teams like Seton Hall and Wisconsin, and a great team in Duke. Once Justice Sueing and Seth Towns (theoretically) come back, this should be an interesting team to watch andsee just how far they can go.