After taking sole possession of first place last weekend, Ohio State travels to Penn State to try to avenge its only loss of the Big Ten season. But the Nittany Lions are trying to make a late-season impression.
Ohio State (22-5) (13-1) vs. Penn State (18-9) (8-6) Game Preview
Broadcast, TV, Game Time
Date: Thursday, February 15
Game Time: 8:00 pm ET
Venue: Bryce Jordan Center, University Park, Pennsylvania
Ohio State has sole possession of first place in the Big Ten for the first time since 2011, but the road to a Big Ten regular season championship won’t be easy. It starts with a trip to University Park to take on a Penn State team that gave OSU its only loss in the Big Ten to date.
And in case you’ve lost sight of Penn State recently, let me point out that it has won five of its last six games to start conversations about a fringe NCAA tournament team.
Another win against a top ten Ohio State team would help that cause, but a win by Ohio State would be a big step towards realizing the dream of a conference title.
Ohio State Short Attention Span Game Plan
This Penn State team has isn’t your father’s Nittany Lion squad. There’s some actual NBA-type skill and it all starts with sophomore guard Tony Carr, who’s second in the Big Ten in scoring at 19.2 points per game.
As talented as Penn State is with its starting five all averaging in double-figures though, it doesn’t have a deep bench. You have to make Penn State work for open shots, lock up man-to-man, and force dribble-drives and look for help, rather than sagging back and allowing open threes.
On offense, especially on the road against a team that is beginning to peak, OSU cannot afford a slow start. Get into offensive sets, probe and take advantages of what the offense gives you. If you can make this Nittany Lion team work on both ends of the floor, there’s the ability to force a wear down effect.
But, Penn State is playing for its post-season life. This is going to be tough.
Key Player For Ohio State
Kam Williams. OSU’s best three-point threat is back for this game via an announcement from Chris Holtmann. Ohio State has kind of settled into a rotation without him for a few games, so how he meshes and molds into this is going to be key.
And then there’s the added outside threat that he can add in this one. If Williams can come off the bench and provide the ability to spot up and hit some open looks on the outside, it’ll create more room for Keita-Bates-Diop on the other side of the floor, as well as Jae’Sean Tate and Kaleb Wesson in the paint.
He’ll need to shake off any rust, and add to what this team’s done over the last few games.
How It’ll All Go Down
Both teams are playing with a lot of confidence right now, and Penn State already knows it can beat this squad as evidenced by the win in Columbus. Look for the Nittany Lions to exploit Ohio State with their athleticism in key matchups.
With Penn State playing for a shot at a NCAA berth and with how we’ve seen this team grow, it’s going to be a tough out for the Buckeyes in a hostile environment. Look for the Nittany Lions to take advantage of all the intangibles and added emotion to ride this one out in a close one.
Penn State 77, Ohio State 70
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