Where: Bryce Jordan Center â€“ State College, PA
When: 7:00pm EST
Records: OSU 22-3 (10-1); Nittany Lions 10-13 (1-9)
Opponent: Big11Ten cellar dweller Penn State welcomes OSU to the Bryce Jordan Center fresh off a 53-51 loss at Northwestern on Saturday. Ed DeChellisâ€™ squad has lost nine in a row following their lone conference win, an 83-57 rout of the Wildcats, way back on January 3rd. Iâ€™ve only seen PSU on TV once this season (a 69-59 home loss to Purdue) but I do remember the stench of their performance being comparable to that of hot garbage. I hate to rail on such a bad team but check out the list of teams they have beaten this season: Morehead State, UNC Greensboro, Bucknell, St. Josephâ€™s, Morgan St., Hartford, Long Island Univ., Maine, VMI and Northwestern. Worse yet, theyâ€™ve lost to the likes of Stony Brook and SE Louisiana at home.
Players: PSU actually has a few serviceable parts. 6â€™5â€ junior Geary Claxton averages 16.4 points and 8.4 rebounds but is shooting just 31% (18-58) in his last four games. Despite the cold shooting, Claxton has reached double figures in eight straight games and has grabbed at least 10 rebounds in three of the last four. Brookhaven product Jamelle Cornley is having a solid sophomore campaign, ranking second on the team in both scoring (14.2) and rebounding (7.0) after leading all Big11Ten freshmen in scoring and rebounding a year ago. Look for Cornley to be aggressive early and often after scoring just six points against Northwestern on a season low four field goal attempts. Another sophomore, guard Danny Morrissey, is third in scoring at 10.8 per contest buoyed by 43% shooting from beyond the arc. Down low, 6â€™10â€ Milos Bogetic (4.3 ppg, 3.1 rpg) and 6â€™11â€ junior Brandon Hassell (6.2 ppg, 4.6 rpg) will try to contain Greg Oden. Hassell has been hampered by a sprained foot and when he sees Oden in warm-ups, one has to wonder if the injury will suddenly flare up again.
Notes: Penn State has dropped 7 in a row to Ohio State...The last PSU victory over Ohio State was a 64-47 decision in State College back in January of 2004â€¦The PSU faithful will be treated to some magical dancing at halftime courtesy of the duo billing themselves as "Quick Change". Predictably, the pair met on a circus tour back in 1995. You might recall their appearance on "America's Got Talent" last year that captivated the nation. Or maybe not.
Buckeye Breakdown: The Buckeyes hit the road with a nine game win streak in tow following the close shave against Purdue on Saturday. Once again, OSU played to the level of their competition only to pull away with a late run. This time it was a 17-5 blitz that saw the OSU defense hold Purdue to just one field goal over the final 7 Â½ minutes. Expect the Buckeyes to come out ready to play after Jamar Butler and others offered the 12:15pm start time as a partial excuse for the lackluster effort.
Key Players: Oden led OSU with 15 points and 9 rebounds in just 21 minutes of action versus the Boilermakers. His foul trouble was the result of Matta neglecting to take him out late in the first half before he picked up his 2nd foul 58 seconds before halftime followed by Oden going over the back of a Purdue defender to pick up his third foul just 1:14 into the second half. The coach and big guy both need to be a little smarter if OSU plans on making a deep run in March. One thing this team doesnâ€™t need to worry about is the play of Mike Conley. The freshman point guard was named co Big11Ten player of the week after setting his career high with 23 points along with 6 assists against Michigan followed by a 14 point effort versus Purdue. On the season, Conley leads the conference in assists, steals and assist-to-turnover ratio. Daequan Cook could use a decent showing after finding himself in Mattaâ€™s doghouse due to poor shot selection and questionable effort guarding the ball. Cook hasnâ€™t seen more than 19 minutes in each of the last 3 games after playing 20 and 26 minutes and reaching double figures in back to back games against Michigan State and Purdue. This team needs Cook to provide some scoring punch off the bench to be a contender and Matta knows it so expect Cook to see more minutes today. That said, DCâ€™s main competitor for playing time, Ron Lewis, is averaging 19.3 points in three career games against PSU including 11-19 from downtown.
Notes: Bill Simmons from the Worldwide Leader checks in with his not so favorable impressions of Greg Oden and the team in general after watching the victory over Michigan last weekâ€¦Do the esteemed readers of 11W think there is any truth to the rumor that the veterans dislike playing with the young guys?