Penn State Basketball: Nittany Lions Buckle Up For No. 24 Ohio State Wednesday Night
Penn State finally got its first conference win of the season last week and the Nittany Lions have been rewarded with a trip to Columbus to take on the No. 24 ranked Buckeyes on Wednesday night.
The good news though for coach Patrick Chambers' squad is that while the Buckeyes are ranked No. 24 in the nation, they haven't exactly been on fire, winning only one of their last five games. Considering though that the Nittany Lions haven't beaten the Buckeyes in 17 meetings makes Wednesday night's game anything but a walk in the park. No matter how much Ohio State has struggled as of late.
“If we get caught up worrying about, you know, Ohio State’s beaten us 17 straight times … then if it’s a close game with four minutes to go, then that’s gonna pop in our head,” Chambers said. “It’s only human nature, and we can’t worry about that.”
Scoring wise, Penn State and Ohio State are both fairly even as the Buckeyes have only scored more than 63 points on two occasions over the past five games. The Nittany Lions on the other hand have broken the 63 point mark four times in the past five games. With neither team shooting the ball particularly well in conference play, it will mean that turnovers and fast break points could make a big difference in the outcome of the game.
Interestingly enough, Penn State is ranked the 18th best team in the nation at not turning the ball over while Ohio State is ranked 13th in the nation in forcing turnovers. The Buckeyes are led by guard Aaron Craft who averages just over two steals per game.
“If we can keep our turnovers under 10, we’re gonna give ourselves a chance to compete in that game for 40 minutes.” Chambers said on Tuesday.
Penn State will have to make the most of each possession as the Buckeyes boast one of the best defenses in the nation and limit opponents to just under 60 possessions per game.
The Nittany Lions aren't playing beautiful basketball as of late, but the Big Ten isn't a conference of pretty passes and slam dunks. With three losses in conference play by a total of 7 points Penn State is a few bounces and made shots away from a very different season meaning Wednesday night's game is far from a formality.
Tip is set for 7:00 PM on the Big Ten Network.