Penn State Basketball Preview

OSU LogoPenn State brings their 1-6 Big Ten Record and overall record of 10-10 into the Value City arena Wednesday night to face the Ohio State Buckeyes. For the first time in 6 games, the Buckeyes bring a winning streak during a basketball game. Though it is only sitting a 1 game, the Buckeyes and head coach Matta will take it. Having lost their previous 4 games before finally getting things going in the right direction vs. Illinois, Ohio State looks to use that momentum against Penn State because road games against Iowa and Wisconsin are waiting for Ohio State. No stranger to a long losing streak, the Nittany Lions defeated Nebraska on Jan 23rd to end a 6 game losing streak of their own. Ironically, it ended against the team that gave the Buckeyes their most unexpected loss during their own losing streak in the Corn Huskers.

Though the Nittany Lions have the most formidable scoring backcourt in the Big Ten in D.J Newbill and Tim Frazier, they just haven’t been able to put a complete game together. Three of their 6 losses have come by 3 points or less has to be frustrating for Head Coach Pat Chambers. Though his program appears to be heading in the right direction, it clearly is not up to the level he expects to be at. The return of Tim Frazier, after having missed nearly a year with an injury, has been a positive as he is averaging 16.5 points a game to Newbill’s 17.2. But it’s their defense that it faltering for Penn State as they are giving up 72.6 points per game, good for 241st in the country.

Speaking of offense, Buckeyes fans are hoping that Thad Matta’s crew found some of theirs after their most recent contest against the Illini. Though 62 points isn’t anything to write home about, it was certainly enough to provide some confidence and rhythm. Lenzelle Smith Jr. scored 16 points and provided that extra spark that had been missing. The reason that the offense is so scrutinized is because the Buckeyes bring in one of the nation’s best defenses into any contest. Currently ranked 8th in the country while allowing only 58.3 points per game, it is the staple to Matta’s team and we have all seen the good things that can happen when the offense goes along with it. Ohio State is led by LaQuinton Ross with 14.1 points and Smith Jr. with 12.1 per contest. I expect this to be relatively low scoring with the Buckeye garnering a 65-55 win.

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