Sunday, March 07, 1999
OHIO STATE NOTEBOOK
Buckeyes remain positive
BY SCOTT MacGREGOR
The Cincinnati Enquirer
CHICAGO Ohio State coach Jim O'Brien doesn't intend to let Saturday's upset loss to Illinois in the Big Ten Tournament ruin the Buckeyes' turnaround season.
I don't think it's going to affect our psyche going in (to the NCAA Tournament), O'Brien said. There's nothing that's going to happen that's going to take away from our positive approach heading in. We're going to be very upbeat. We have to be appreciative of everything that's happened this year.
The Buckeyes (23-8), who are almost assured an NCAA Tournament berth for the first time since 1992, probably will get no better than a No. 3 seed, but probably no worse than a No. 4. They entered the Big Ten Tournament with an RPI of 14 and ranked 11th nationally.
I think (the seed) should be relatively good, O'Brien said. At this point, who knows? We'll know where we're going when you guys know. We'll get together as a group, very quietly with our team, and find out where we're going to go.
Ohio State guard Scoonie Penn believes the Buckeyes deserve a No. 4 seed. We'd be happy with that, he said, adding the loss isn't devastating. We still have something to look forward to.
More tourney talk
O'Brien wished Illinois luck in the championship game against Michigan State today and hopes the Illini (14-17) win to grab the conference's automatic NCAA bid. But he said if they do get the bid, it shouldn't hurt the cases for Purdue and Minnesota, two first-round Big Ten losers considered bubble teams.
I personally feel Purdue and Minnesota deserve to be in, O'Brien said. If Illinois gets it, does it hurt Purdue and Minnesota? I think not. Their RPI and their quality wins shouldn't be affected by how many teams are in from our conference.
To the hole
Buckeyes sophomore star Michael Redd's 32 points came mostly as a result of hard work taking the ball to the basket. With Penn ailing with leg cramps, Redd took the offensive load on himself, driving aggressively to the hole and drawing fouls. He ended 11-of-18 from the field, 2-of-4 on three-pointers and 8-of-11 from the free throw line.
We didn't have many fouls against us, and that was because we weren't being aggressive, Redd said. So I just decided to take it strong to the basket.
How tough will it be for Illinois to win a fourth game in four days today against No. 2-ranked Michigan State?
I think it's going to be a monumental thing for them to do, O'Brien said. It's not only because it's a fourth game. Michigan State is not the type of team that's going to back up and let you do your stuff.
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