The Buckeyes visit University Park to square off against Penn State. Tipoff is slated for an 8:00 p.m. ET start on Bryce Jordan Center court. Big 10 Basketball Free Pick: Ohio St. at Penn St.
You don’t have to look hard to find that the Nittany Lions are a tough matchup for the nationally ranked Buckeyes. This Penn State squad has been spot-on since defeating Ohio State in Columbus in January. The win came on a buzzer-beater by sharp-shooting Tony Carr. Most relevant is that the defeat at the hands of the Lions was the only loss the ninth-ranked Buckeyes have suffered in league play.
Carr connected on a 3-pointer as time expired in Columbus on January 25 the Nittany Lions have gone 4-1. Penn State coach Pat Chambers has verbalized to the local and national media that calling his team tournament worthy was premature. I beg to differ. The latest performance by the Lions saw the squad earn a 74-52 win at Illinois on Sunday. Penn State’s lone defeat in their 5-1 record across their last six games was in East Lansing to the Michigan State Spartans.
Ohio State depends on forward Keita Bates-Diop to get his 20-plus points to compete on a nightly basis. It also includes contributions from frontcourt mates Kaleb Wesson, Jae’Sean Tate, and guards C.J. Jackson and Kam Williams. The Buckeyes have shot over 50 percent from the floor in their last five games with only Purdue mounting a challenge defensively. Most of all Iowa, Illinois and Indiana are not worthy of defensive praise.
Penn State (-1, 138) has won their way to a plus-.500 mark in conference play (8-6) and 18-9, 8-6). Carr is one of five players averaging double-figure scoring on the season. In addition guards Shep Garner and Josh Reaves toss in 10-plus per game. Also the frontcourt of Lamar Stevens and Mike Watkins make defending the Lions difficult.
Most relevant is that while it was Carr’s three-point bucket that ultimately pushed an “L” to the loss column for the Buckeyes in league play the Nittany Lions’ 5-1 stretch and uber-success can be primarily contributed to the return of Josh Reaves to active duty. Reaves missed the first part of league play due to an academic suspension.
The Nittany Lions continue to gain steam and Big Dance notice with a win over the Buckeyes tonight in University Park.
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Big 10 Basketball Free Pick: Ohio St. at Penn St.