Game Preview: Penn State vs. Ohio State
Jon Gross, Jerome Taylor and Joe Skinner preview Penn State's Thursday huge Big Ten clash with the No. 8 Ohio State Buckeyes:
On Thursday night the Bryce Jordan Center will host its biggest basketball game since 2011 as the Penn State Nittany Lions host the No. 8 Ohio State Buckeyes.
This game has major implications for both the Nittany Lions and Buckeyes. Penn State is looking to keep his NCAA tournament hopes alive, while the Buckeyes look to hold the top spot in the Big Ten.
These teams last matched up on January 26th where Penn State pulled off the upset over then No. 13 Ohio State in Columbus. Tony Carr hit a buzzer beater to hold off the Buckeyes’ late rally to win 82-79.
Carr was special for Penn State in this game as he scored 28 points to go along with five assists. Keita Bates-Diop dropped 25 points for the Buckeyes, but it wasn’t enough to hold the underdog Nittany Lions off.
This rematch has much more on the line for both teams. Since the return of guard Josh Reaves, the Nittany Lions have been on a tear winning five of their last six games to keep themselves in position for a possible tournament berth.
Penn State still has a lot of work to do to make their first tournament appearance since 2011. With still having to play Ohio State, Purdue, Michigan, and Nebraska, the Nittany Lions should look to come away with three wins in those four games.
For the Nittany Lions to pull off another upset over Ohio State it will need great performances from Tony Carr and Lamar Stevens. Carr and Stevens, arguably the two best players on the team, combined for 43 points against the Buckeyes back in January.
A player to watch for the Nittany Lions will be Reaves. Reaves made his return from suspension against Ohio State and was rusty. But since that game, Reaves has been one of the better players for Coach Chambers’ team. Reaves’ energy and defensive ability will be key for Penn State.
On the other side, Bates-Diop is averaging 19.9 points and 9 rebounds per game for the Buckeyes. He has been one of the best players in the Big Ten this season and should receive consideration for All-American at the end of the season.
The Buckeyes also receive contributions from Jae’Sean Tate and C.J. Jackson. Both players are averaging 12 points per game this season and will have to play big on Thursday to take some of the weight off of Bates Diop.
Just looking at the team stats you wouldn’t realize that one team is No. 8 in the country at 22-5, while the other 18-9 and out of the tournament. Ohio State and Penn State are so similar in several key statistics that make us believe that this should be a close and competitive game in the BJC.
With whiteout conditions expected in the Bryce Jordan Center on Thursday, the Nittany Lions should expect to have a home-court advantage unlike one they’ve had all season. Penn State has a tough road ahead of them, but this team believes in themselves and it all starts with a big matchup against the Buckeyes.
This game should be back and forth the whole game as both teams have much to fight for. Penn State will look to gain some attention from the NCAA committee, while Ohio State will push for the number one seed in the Big Ten tournament.
Camden Tofil is a freshman majoring in advertising. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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