"Going out and practicing hard consistently every day, playing tight defense, staying up on them to where they’ll be used to the bumps and somebody going hard after them for 40 minutes,” Riley said. "They’re almost there. It’s gonna take some time, but we have the whole season.”
OSU coach Kurt Budke said the focus first and foremost has to be on making the NCAA Tournament. While it’s important to get Hatcher and Clardy prepared and comfortable on the floor, Budke can’t afford to lose games just to get the two in at crunch time. OSU needs to fight for the highest possible seed it can get to make its Riley-free first-round game easier to win.
Budke said he’s trying not to talk about the suspension with his team and plans to treat it like an injury.
"Teams have injuries at that time of year all the time, and they have to find a way to put things together and win,” Budke said. "We’ve got good seniors. A Taylor Hardeman, a Shaunte Smith, is not going to back away come tournament time just because Andrea is not in the game. Those kids, they’ll be ready to play.”