It's apparent from the ambitious schedule Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann embraced for a team with only one senior that he's not afraid of expectations.
But given the ease with which OSU hammered 10th-ranked Villanova, 76-51, on Wednesday, Holtmann may have to yank the reins on what fans assume will happen in upcoming games against No. 6 North Carolina and No. 1 Kentucky.
The 16th-ranked Buckeyes staggered Nova with a 9-0 barrage in the first 1:21, bumped that to 19-3 inside five minutes and only briefly led by fewer than 20 points the rest of the way.
'Probably two or three times have I been a part of a game as a head coach where almost everything goes your way," Holtmann said. "That's the reality. Very rarely do you have games like that."
OSU's margin ballooned to as many as 30 points in the second half of a victory that made Holtmann the first coach in six seasons to defeat Villanova's Jay Wright for a third consecutive time.
The first two of those wins came two years ago when Holtmann was at Bulter and Wright's Wildcats were ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the nation, but neither of those upsets took the form of a non-competitive knockout.
That's what this was from the opening tip, with OSU starting 6-for-7 from the field, including 4-of-5 from three-point range. Washington hit a trio of triples and C.J. Walker another to fuel their team's getaway, which escalated until Nova trailed, 40-13, with just over two minutes left in the half.
A brief rally reduced that deficit to 18, 40-22, at the break, but Kaleb Wesson fed Kyle Young for a dunk off a set play to start the second half, Young scored again the next time down and the rout resumed.
Carton's slam along the baseline sent the lead to 60-32 with 8:20 left and Young scored on top of that to give OSU its largest lead.
"...I shouldn't need to pump the brakes on people who understand basketball and understand how long the season is," Holtmann said. "They understand the challenges.
"Michigan last year had a great win at Villanova at the same time of year. What did they finish? Fourth in our league? They had a really good eat year, got to the Sweet Sixteen, but you're guaranteed anything. We saw last night in couple of games, there are oddities in college basketball."
OSU plays host to Stetson on Monday.
The Buckeyes then have three more games before travelling to North Carolina on Dec. 4.
The Ohio State-Kentucky game is Dec. 21.
"Much credit to Ohio State," said Wright, whose program won the NCAA Championship in 2016 and 2018. "Chris had those guys dialed in right from the start. We didn't do as good a job. That's a well-drilled, very disciplined team that knows their roles."
Washington's 14 points led five Ohio State players in double figures, with Luther Muhammed and Carton scoring 11 each and Kaleb Wesson and C.J. Walker 10 each.
Washington had 9 within the first 90 seconds on back-to-back-to-back three-pointers to open the scoring.
"I wouldn't say I anticipated them being that open," Washington said. "I just trusted my teammates to find me in the right spot."
Wright wasn't as much surprised by OSU's accuracy as he was the availability of the open shots.
We respected their three-point shooting," Wright said. "They were three plays where they shouldn't have even have gotten one off. I was concerned right away. Just basic defensive concepts. We were supposed to be prepared for that."
Jermaine Samuels had 14 for Villanova (1-1).
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