Preview: Ohio State vs. Penn State

By Corey Carpenter on February 24, 2009 at 7:00a
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The lovely and talented Erin PageviewsA good memory for tough times.
Ohio State Buckeyes Ohio State 17-8, 7-7 Big Ten Roster | Schedule 7:00 PM ET - ESPN —— The Schott Columbus, OH Penn State Nittany Lions Penn State 19-8, 8-6 Big Ten Roster | Schedule

It seems like the sky is falling for most Buckeye hoops fans, but a win over Penn State tonight would bring them into a fourth place tie and a chance to control their own tournament destiny.

The Nittany Lions are seeking their 20th win tonight, looking to reach that plateau for the first time since the Crispin brothers lead them to a Sweet Sixteen appearance in 2000-2001 and a 21-12 record.

Ohio State obviously has to end the 3 game skid and keep their season from slipping away into NIT land. I think they can still pull it together to capture 3 wins in the last 4 games, but this game tonight is the most pivotal in the final stretch.

#NamePTSREBASSTPOS#NamePTSREBASST
2 Jeremie Simmons 7.3 1.6 2.9 G 12 Talor Battle 17.3 5.2 5.0
33 Jon Diebler 11.3 3.3 2.6 G 11 Stanley Pringle 12.7 3.2 2.8
21 Evan Turner 17.2 7.3 3.5 F 15 David Jackson 3.9 3.2 0.7
44 William Buford 11.4 3.3 1.2 F 2 Jamelle Cornley 14.6 6.6 1.2
52 Dallas Lauderdale 4.9 4.0 0.3 C 22 Andrew Jones III 5.4 5.5 0.3

Opponent

PSU comes in scoring 60.1 points a game in conference play, ranking them ahead of only Indiana and Iowa, but they have 3 of the top 17 scorers in the league. During B10 play, they are shooting 40.9 percent from the floor, including 35 percent from deep and a conference low 65 percent from the line.

Penn State is in the upper half in most defensive categories, giving up just 62 points a game during conference play, including 33 against Illinois in their last outing 6 days ago. It is surprising to see them 2 games above .500, considering their -1.6 scoring margin, but they have senior leadership in Cornley and Pringle, which can only help them in a potential close game with the Bucks.

Ed DeChellis will use a 7 man rotation, bringing in Danny Morrissey and Jeff Brooks off the bench. He'll play Cornely, Pringle and Battle over 30 minutes, with Jones III getting close to 25.

Buckeye Breakdown:

Don't quit on this team just yet. It has been a struggle the last 3 games, but as of right now, they are still slated to be in the dance as a 9 seed. If they win 3 of their last 4, it would give them a 20-9 record heading into the B10 tourney. Get a win there and no doubt the Bucks will be dancing.

Due to vacation, I did not get to see the Wisconsin and Northwestern games, but after reading the comments and watching the Illinois game, the season long weaknesses are still glaring. It's hard to believe the Bucks are still shooting over 50 percent in league play, considering no PG has emerged and the inside play of late makes you want to puke.

What's happened to Simmons? Since February came, he is 6 for 21 from the floor, with just 9 assists in 5 games and has allowed Hill to outplay him. He has had 3 games where he didn't have any assists and 3 where he didn't make a 3-pointer. I still believe this team can make some noise, but if Simmons doesn't return to his form of three weeks ago, Ohio State will play exactly 6 more game this year.

We saw glimpses of man to man late in the game against Illinois and I know most of us wonder why we don't see it more often. It gets tiring watching the opposition make 3 pointers at ease and when they don't make them, an offensive rebound is sure to follow. Remember though, the Buckeyes are simply too thin to play man. There is absolutely no depth inside and teams would just force Mullens and Invisidale to hedge beyond the three point line, guaranteeing foul trouble in most games.

I'm curious to hear your opinion though. Do you think Mullens doesn't get the ball enough because the guards don't look or because he can't consistently hold his position. For me, he has serious trouble gaining and holding his position on the block.

Etc

  • Turner is 1 of 9 players who leads his team in points, rebounds, assists and steals, but the only 1 whose team has a chance for a tournament bid.
  • Ohio State has beaten Penn State 10 straight times.
  • It is our last chance to see 11W favorites Steve Lavin and Erin Andrews
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