Penn State Looks to Upset Ohio State Saturday
Penn State head coach Pat Chambers and his squad have been stuck in quicksand since Big Ten play began. That quicksand is becoming more and more difficult to escape as the Nittany Lions have yet to record a victory along their journey through the most premier conference in the country.
After another double-digit loss to the number seven ranked Indiana Hoosiers 72-49 on Wednesday, Penn State (8-11, 0-7) continued their rough shooting start to conference play.
Now, as Penn State is showing no signs of significant improvement, the Nittany Lions tough Big Ten stretch continues as they host to Ohio State (14-4, 4-2) Saturday afternoon at the Bryce Jordan Center, a place where they are on a seven game losing streak.
The No. 14 ranked Buckeyes are coming off a tough home victory against Iowa after losing its previous game against Tom Izzo’s Spartans.
The Buckeye’s victory at home over the Hawkeyes 72-63 took a backseat this week in Ohio State basketball news as Aaron Craft set the school’s career steals record in the game against Iowa, as well as head coach Thad Matta receiving a new contract.
Matta is now under contract until July of 2019 with a 10 percent raise that increases his salary to 3.2 million dollars annually.
As for Saturday, the game marks the only time these two teams will face each other this season and yet another chance for Penn State to get their first conference win at home with the support of Nittany Nation behind them.
However, the Nittany Lions have not beaten the Buckeyes in 13 tries dating back to the 1998/1999 season.
Penn State's shooting, which regressed against Indiana, won't help their chances to break the losing streak as they are shooting only 33.3 percent from the field and making only 72.2 percent of their free throws.
With the loss of Tim Frazier, the Nittany Lions have been unable to make strides in both offensive and defensive categories. D.J. Newbill and Jermaine Marshall have been the only offensive contributors as they were the only two players to score in double figures against Indiana.
Moreover, out of the twelve Penn State players that saw the court Wednesday night, only six of those players scored. Unless a full court miracle happens over night for this Nittany Lions team, it looks like their inability to score could lead to a winless season in the Big Ten.
As for Ohio State, this is a surprisingly must win game. The Buckeyes currently sit fourth in the conference and if they have any intentions of storming back to win the regular season crown they need to win the easy games, like this one at Penn State.
For the Buckeyes to make a run starting on Saturday against the Nittany Lions, they need to get more production out of Aaron Craft. He is slowly coming along this season averaging 8.9 points and 4.7 assists per game, but his production has been down from last year.
However, with Craft running the point, junior forward Deshaun Thomas has averaged 20.5 points and 6.7 rebounds per game this season as the Buckeye frontcourt continues to develop.
Junior guard Lenzelle Smith Jr. is also turning into an x-factor for the Buckeyes, averaging 10.2 points and 5.7 rebounds a game.
To counter the offensive attack inside from Ohio State, Ross Travis and Sasa Borovjnak will have to develop a presence inside and limit Thomas and Smith on the offensive end. Something that goes along with that is getting more production off the bench.
Both teams need a win Saturday; the only difference is Ohio State wants to win to stay in the hunt for the conference championship, whereas Penn State desperately wants to win to finally get its first conference victory.
Tyler Feldman is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism and business management. To contact him, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Contributors
Senior / Broadcast Journalism and Marketing
Currently, Feldman is an executive producer, reporter and anchor for the Centre County Report, as well as ComRadio’s senior sports director. He also is the host of the Penn State Coaches Show featuring Guy Gadowsky, which airs live from Lettermans on ESPN Radio 1450 and GoPSUSports.com every Tuesday night at 6 p.m. Additionally, he was the first to report the hiring of Joe Moorhead as Penn State football’s new offensive coordinator on December 12, 2015.
He’s a member of the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism within the College of Communications and enrolled in the Smeal College of Business.
Feldman, a Pittsburgh native, has broadcasted sporting events from a number of international and professional venues, including Estadio Latinoamericano in Cuba, Madison Square Garden, CONSOL Energy Center, Wells Fargo Center, MetLife Stadium, M&T Bank Stadium, and EverBank Field.
Last spring, he traveled with the Penn State men’s volleyball team as their play-by-play man, announcing his very first NCAA tournament matches at Stanford’s Maples Pavilion.
He has gained valuable broadcasting and reporting experience interning and working at WTAJ-TV, MLB Network, GoPSUSports.com, 105.9 The X, 970 AM ESPN, Big Ten Network Student U, and State College’s ESPN Radio 1450.
Feldman has a strong passion for sports and dreams to become a sports anchor/reporter in a national market and/or a hockey play-by-play announcer.