Penn State–Ohio State Preview
The fun is over kids, nothing against Northwestern and Michigan but the time has come to see if the past two games were a sign of things to come, or lady luck feeling bad for us. Now, in all likelihood Ohio State is going to win this one, they should on paper and there isn’t any reason they can’t do it on the court. Anything inside a 10 point loss should make you feel pretty good about things. Ohio State has made plenty of teams look pretty bad, so a loss is ok, as long as you lose by a reasonable margin. But lets not pretend I don’t think that Penn State is going to pull off the upset…it’s happening..
The first time these two teams met, Ohio State wasn’t shooting as well as they could, since then Jon Diebler has shot much better, Evan Turner has been Evan Turner, and Dallas Lauderdale has run around scaring small children offering them free candy. For the Lions to really have a chance they’re going to need to limit multiple players production, not just Evan Turner’s. That is going to mean limiting open three pointers, as well as not giving up easy baskets on the inside.
While this might seem like a long list of things Penn State isn’t going to be able to pull off, it is worth mentioning that they were only down 5 with about 2 minutes left in Columbus, the final score isn’t really indicative of how close the Lions got. Since their last meeting, most every aspect of the Lion’s game has improved and their shooting has also greatly improved. (PSU starters other than Battle are shooting 59% (36-61) of their shots the past two games. In the 12 losses, PSU starters other than Battle hit 45.4% (120-264))
Offensively Tim Frazier has been finding his stride in Big Ten play, he has really made strides in his ball control and is learning how to use his speed, even though he hasn’t taken a whole lot of shots, he usually gets a good look at the rim and has been great in running the offense so Battle (usually) can work off of a screen. Generally speaking Battle becomes more of a threat off of the screen, if Battle can take advantage of his speed he could have a big game. Frazier could be a really big part of the Lion’s success, his court vision has improved and his chemistry on offense has improved as well, some of the fast-break point Penn State scored against Michigan were really well executed.
The biggest key to winning will being able to continue to produce in the paint. The past two games the Lions have score over 60 points and if they are going to have any chance to win it is going to come from offensive balance. Waiting around for Talor to drop 35 isn’t going to get it done, that being said, if he has the “Talor Smile” all bets are off.
In the end this is a big game for both teams, Ohio State can’t afford to lose if they want to win the Big Ten, and Penn State needs to see how much better they really have gotten.