While a top-10 matchup always has plenty of interesting storylines, one of the best might be about Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann.
Holtmann served as an assistant for the Butler Bulldogs during the 2013-14 season before being named the head coach in the following season. He stayed there until 2017 when he secured his current job in Columbus. Holtmann was also an assistant at Gardner-Webb when the Bulldogs upset No. 20 Kentucky at Rupp Arena in 2007.
But what’s really interesting about Holtmann isn’t where he is now, or where he was before, but it’s where he started.
Holtmann grew up just down the road from UK in Nicholasville, Kentucky. Hence, Holtmann had a deep adoration for the Cats growing up. He was a big UK fan and had the posters on his wall to prove it.
“Yeah, all of em. Every year, yeah,” Holtmann told 247Sports’ Chris Fisher. “All that stuff, the posters and everything. As we all know, you get older and that stuff doesn’t grab you as much, but if I were to sleep in my room now back home, I’d probably see a Rex Chapman poster or something.”
The Buckeyes head coach said that you don’t have much of a choice for who you’re rooting for when you live that close to UK.
“You grow up in Lexington, Kentucky, you got no choice. It’s a part of your blood,” Holtmann said. “It’s like being in Columbus here. Football is a part of your blood. Basketball is a part of your blood there. It just is. It’s front page news. In the offseason, it’s front page news. It’s just the way it is. It’s the way life is there. It’s basketball, horse farms and bourbon, I guess.”
Ohio State is easily one of the best teams in the country. They may have been ranked No. 1 right now if it weren’t for a dud against the Minnesota Golden Gophers over the weekend.
Regardless, they’ll be ready for the Cats on Saturday night. So far this season, the Buckeyes hold a 10-1 record and have a win over their in-state rival Cincinnati Bearcats, a 25-point win over the then-No. 10 Villanova Wildcats, and a 25-point win at then-No. 7 North Carolina Tar Heels.
Holtmann is surely happy where is he is, and he’s doing an excellent job. But keep his name in mind a few years down the road when John Calipari finally decides to call it quits.
The BBN could be watching its future head coach on Saturday night.