Penn State vs. Ohio State Preview

Story posted February 26, 2014 in Sports, CommRadio by Maddie Brightman

The last time these two teams met, the Nittany Lions came away with their first win against the Buckeyes in 16 years. The matchup between the Big Ten rivals marked Tim Frazier’s 100th career start and the end of head coach, Thad Matta’s 17-0 record against Penn State.

Leading up to Thursday’s game, the Nittany Lions will be coming off a week of rest, following their loss to Nebraska and an entertaining dance performance during the THON Pep Rally led by head coach, Pat Chambers.

The Buckeye’s last game took place on Saturday, where they beat Minnesota 64-46 in Columbus. Ohio State outscored Minnesota 46-18 in the second half, after being down 10 points, following the conclusion of the first half. Buckeye fans were thrilled when forward, Sam Thompson scored 16 points during the second half and guard Aaron Craft recorded five assists and four steals.

Ohio State will enter Thursday’s matchup with a three game win streak and an AP ranking of 22, a higher ranking then the one they held during their previous game against Penn State (No. 24). Matta’s team has won six of their last eight and will look to improve their conference record to 10-6 this Thursday night.

Chambers and the Nittany Lions will look to snap a two game losing streak and earn an overall .500 record. At the conclusion of Thursday’s game, Penn State will have only one home game left and a total of three games left on the regular season schedule.

D.J. Newbill was the game-changer in the season’s earlier matchup against Ohio Sate, scoring a game-winner and tallying 25 total points. Newbill recorded 15 points against Nebraska last week and is set to be an impact player on Thursday night.

Freshmen, Graham Woodward and Geno Thorpe received substantial playing time in last week’s Nebraska game, and there is a possibility the two youngsters will continue to show off their skills against Ohio State. Woodward held a field goal percentage of 68 during his 35 minutes of play against the Buckeyes in January.

Impact players for the Buckeyes will include forward, LaQuinton Ross and guards, Aaron Craft and Lenzelle Smith Junior. Ross leads the team with an average of 14.3 points per game and was a catalyst in the win against the Golden Gophers, with nine points and six rebounds.

Craft has recorded the most playing time all season, earning a start in every game.

He tallies 9.5 point and 3.4 rebounds per game.

Smith is second on the team in points per game and total rebounds, with 11.8 and 142 respectively. Smith also leads the team with a free throw percentage of 80.

This season, Penn State has averaged 73.3 points and 35 rebounds per game. The Nittany Lions have recorded an average 10 turnovers per game and a free throw percentage of 75.

Ohio State has averaged 70.5 points and 34 rebounds per game. The Buckeyes have held a free throw percentage of 70 and an average of 11 turnovers per game.

The Buckeyes may have lower averages per game, but their 22-6 record and No. 22 ranking becomes more obvious when looking at their scoring margin of +12.6, in comparison to Penn State’s margin of +.7.

The Nittany Lions may hold better numbers then the Buckeyes, but unlike their Big Ten rival, they have lost many games after leading in the first half, and have been unable to come through in close match ups.

Despite an exciting showdown in Columbus in January, the Buckeyes have not lost twice in the regular season to a Big Ten opponent since the 2008-2009 season.

Penn State will host Ohio State Thursday at 7:00 p.m. on ComRadio.

Maddie Brightman is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email mvb5601@psu.edu.

Photo Courtesy: (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)