Ohio State (19-14) had an up-and-down 2018-19 campaign, starting 12-1 before a five-game losing streak to start the new year.
The Buckeyes recovered from that skid to win four of five games but then lost six of their last eight in the regular season, including a three-game losing streak that coincided with a suspension of star big man Kaleb Wesson for violating university policy.
Ohio State finished tied with Indiana for eighth in the Big Ten regular season standings with an 8-12 record.
The Buckeyes were rewarded with their worst seed in school history.
Prior to this year, Ohio State’s worst seed entering the tournament was No. 9 in 1987. The Buckeyes beat No. 8 Kentucky 91-77 in the first round that year before losing to No. 1 Georgetown 82-79.
Holtmann is the first Ohio State coach to take the Buckeyes to the NCAA tournament in his first two years at the helm since Springfield North grad Randy Ayers did so in 1990 and ‘91.
Ohio State has played in the NCAA tournament 32 times. That includes four appearances (1999-2002) vacated as a result of NCAA violations committed during the Jim O’Brien coaching tenure.
That cost Ohio State its 1999 Final Four appearance (officially), but the Buckeyes are still No. 6 nationally with 10 recognized Final Fours, trailing only North Carolina, Kentucky, UCLA, Duke and Kansas.
Last season, Ohio State was a No. 5 seed and beat No. 12 South Dakota State in the first round before losing to No. 4 Gonzaga in the second.
Ohio State last advanced past the first weekend (to round three) of the NCAA tournament in 2013 when the Buckeyes came within a 70-66 loss to upstart Wichita State in a regional final.
That was the 15th Elite Eight appearance for Ohio State.