Penn State Men’s Basketball vs. Ohio State Game Preview

Story posted December 5, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by Austin Groft

The Nittany Lions welcome back Jamari Wheeler to the Bryce Jordan Center on Dec. 5 for the first time since last season.

This will not be a warm welcome back for Wheeler since he returns being a starter for arguably Penn State’s biggest rival: Ohio State.

The last time out, the blue and white dropped its first home game of the year in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge to Miami.

Penn State is continuing its strong defensive holding Miami to 63 points. The struggles this season are coming from the offense.

The Nittany Lions shot poorly from beyond the arc at 25% with Seth Lundy and Myles Dread taking more than half of the team’s threes. Sam Sessoms shot 25% from the field himself and has not scored double figures in their last two games.

Turnovers are the biggest issue Penn State needs to solve right now. It is playing great defense, but some teams defeat them because they can’t handle the basketball. In Miami’s game, they had 14 turnovers.

John Harrar seems to be the only consistent player on this roster. He is going to play hard basketball every game. Against Miami, he led the team in scoring with 16 points and grabbed 12 rebounds.

Harrar leads the Big Ten averaging 10.9 rebounds per game, which contributes to Penn State getting at least 35 rebounds every game. Penn State has outrebounded its opponents in five of its seven games this year.

Scouting Ohio State

It is only December. The Buckeyes took down the No. 1 Duke in their last game. Despite trailing most of the game, Ohio State fought back and pulled off the huge upset victory.

E.J. Liddell is in contention for Big Ten player of the year with the level he is playing at. He is third in the Big Ten in scoring averaging 21.3 points per game. Against Duke, he had a monstrous double-double with 14 points and 14 rebounds.

He is a strong finisher inside the paint and is great at using his pivot foot. Alongside his prolific scoring, he is averaging nearly 4 blocks per game.

The other beast in the paint for the Buckeyes is Zed Key. He is the only other player on his team that is averaging double figures. He is coming off the game of his life scoring career-high 20 points to lead the charge giving them the win over Duke.

Ohio State overall is a solid team. They are still without key players Justice Sueing and Seth Towns, who averaged 10.7 and 3.8 points per game respectively last season. The win over Duke proves they are capable of being a top team in the Big Ten.

Prediction:

Penn State is looking to bounce back after their tough home loss to Miami earlier in the week. Being a good home team, they’ll give Ohio State a tough game, but don’t have the interior presence to stop both Liddell and Key.

This will be a challenging road game for Ohio State in the Big Ten opener but they have the talent and experience to add another win to their record.

Ohio State 70, Penn State 63

Austin Groft is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email atg5271@psu.edu