March 16, 2018

Buckeyes Meet The Media, Ready Themselves For NCAA Opener

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Kevin McGuff, Head Coach, Ohio State

On team improvements down the stretch
“I thought we got back to playing faster on offense. Our pace got back to where we want it, where we want the game. We regained an edge with our defense and our rebounding. What I liked best about what we did in Indianapolis was we showed a lot of togetherness and toughness down the stretch.”

On hosting the first and second rounds of the NCAA tournament
“The good is we have a great fan base and they get a chance to come see us and support us. This is a great venue. I think we will have a great environment tomorrow. It will be loud and hopefully create a home-court advantage for us. There’s also some pressure playing at home. Sometimes you can get caught up in that. I think there’s a lot more advantages than disadvantages.”

On playing in St. John Arena
“I like it a lot. I think this is a great basketball venue with a lot of history. I won a state championship here in 1988 so it has a special meaning to me. I love playing here. I think our fans like coming here and I like the environment.”

Kelsey Mitchell, Senior, Guard

On playing in the NCAA tournament
“Our focus is sort of the same: think of it as just another game and not think too far ahead. With that being said we just have to focus on George Washington and what they bring to the table.”

On urgency to make a deeper run in the NCAA tournament as a senior
“You definitely want to play with a high sense of urgency. I think that’s the goal and that’s the focus always. In the past we have fallen short but it’s a new year and it’s important to win and get back to Columbus for the Final Four. I think the urgency is the same but the goal is to get back here.”

On what the team is all about
“It’s about the grit. The sacrifices we make for one another. Those hustle plays, those ‘50/50’ plays. Defending the ball as well as you possibly can. Just playing with a sense of urgency but having fun with it. I think that’s when we are at our best.”

Stephanie Mavunga, Senior, Forward

On playing in the NCAA tournament
“Every game is one game at a time. You can’t take anyone lightly. Right now our focus is George Washington and everything they bring to the table. That’s the scouting report we have and that’s the scouting report we’re trying to memorize.”

On playing at St John Arena versus the Schottenstein Center
“To me the biggest difference is its super loud. The sound really carries and it feels more like a basketball gymnasium than anything else.”

Linnae Harper, Senior, Guard

On playing in the NCAA tournament
“We are just trying to focus on our first game against George Washington. We are going to prepare as best as we can and just focus on them.”

On winning the Big Ten Championship and current confidence
“I think winning the Big Ten definitely gave us a boost of confidence and motivation. I think we have a lot of positivity in the air and we are focusing on making sure our level of intensity, focus and preparation is good for our upcoming opponent, George Washington, to make sure we do everything we can to be successful.”

On playing George Washington in the first round
“They’re a great 3-point shooting team and they’re very smart and strategic. It’s very important that we focus on our scouting report and make sure we are ready defensively.”