Men's Basketball

Thursday Shootaround — Ohio State at Penn State Preview


The No. 8 Ohio State men’s basketball team (22-5, 13-1) travels to Penn State to take on the Nittany Lions (18-9, 8-6) Thursday night at the Bryce Jordan Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:07 pm and the game will be televised on BTN.

The Buckeyes are coming off of an 82-64 win over Iowa on Saturday. Penn State last took the court Sunday in a 74-52 win at Illinois.

Opening Tip

Who: No. 8 Ohio State (22-5, 13-1) at Penn State (18-9, 8-6)

What: Men’s Basketball

Where: University Park, PA — Bryce Jordan Center (15,261)

When: Thursday, 8:07 pm (BTN)

Why: Because revenge. REVENGE!

Line: Penn State -1

Ohio State

Three Point Territory

[Always Helpful] The Buckeyes currently have seven players with 25 or more assists on the year. C.J. Jackson leads the team with 114 helpers with Jae’Sean Tate next at 79. The last time an Ohio State team finished with seven players with 25 or more assists was the 2011-12 Final Four squad that finished the year 31-8 overall (13-5 in the Big Ten).

[Twenty/Twenty Vision] Holtmann teams also have won 20 or more games in each of his last five full years as a head coach. Ohio State is 22-5 overall heading into the game at Penn State Thursday. Gardner-Webb won 21 games in 2013 with Holtmann at the helm. Butler reached 23, 22 and 25 wins over the last three seasons before Holtmann took over at Ohio State. Of Ohio State’s 14 head coaches in the history of men’s basketball, only Gary Williams and Thad Matta won 20 games in their first season in Columbus. Williams was 20-13 in 1987 and took the Buckeyes to the NCAA Tournament, where the team defeated Kentucky for its 20th win of the season before losing to Georgetown. Matta was 20-12 in 2005 but the Buckeyes were ineligible for postseason competition that year. The Buckeyes won their 20th game in the Big Ten Tournament over Penn State before ending the season with a loss to Wisconsin. Holtmann is the first Ohio State coach in history to win 20 regular-season games in his first year in Columbus. The 21 wins this year is an Ohio State record for most wins by a first-year coach.

[Scouting the Buckeyes] Junior Keita Bates-Diop has paced the Buckeyes over the first 26 games of the season with 20.2 points a game with a total of 234 rebounds (9.0 rpg.). He is one of three regulars shooting better than 50 percent from the field (195-383/.509). He also leads the Buckeyes with 43 blocks. Senior Jae’Sean Tate connects on 55 percent of his shots (132-241) for an average of 12.7 ppg. He is second with 74 assists. In 22 starts over 25 games, freshman center Kaleb Wesson has scored on 93 of 164 field goal attempts (.567). As a team, Ohio State has scored at least 80 points in 11 games this season (3 in 2016-17) and has made 50 percent or better in 11 games (11 in 2016-17).

Penn State

What You Should Know

+ Penn State and Ohio State have met on 53 previous occasions with the Buckeyes holding a 37-16 overall lead. Each of last two meetings have been won by the visiting team and decided by the final basket. The Nittany Lions won their first meeting in six tries vs. the Buckeyes, 82-79, at Value City Arena on January 25, 2018. Ohio State won 71-70 at the Bryce Jordan Center on February 28, 2017, in the only meeting between the two teams last season.

Series streak: Penn State, W1
Overall series: Ohio State leads 37-16
at University Park: Ohio State leads 14-8
Big Ten games: Ohio State leads 34-14

+ Ten teams now, in 2017-18, have been held to fewer than 60 points by the defensive-minded Nittany Lions. The Illini made the list with 52 points and scored 16 in the second half, the lowest in either half by a Nittany Lion opponent this season.

+ Penn State had moved up to 56th in the national rankings in rebound margin with a +5.1 advantage over its opponents this season, and are now at +3.5. In 16 games in which the Nittany Lions have outrebounded their opponents, they are 14-2. The current rebound margin of +3.2 still ranks as Penn State’s highest since the 1995-96 season when the Nittany Lions were +6.1.

+ Three of the top five 3-point field goal percentages in the Chambers’ era have occurred in 2017-18, including the school record 78.6 percent (11-14) at Ohio State (1/25/18). The 78.6 percent is the highest in the Big Ten this season, best in a conference game and is the second-highest in NCAA D-1 this season behind only Evansville (12-15, 80%) at Bowling Green (12/5/2017).


Revenge can be a powerful force of nature, unless you don’t play defense. Revenge can’t do anything about that. The Buckeyes are certainly looking forward to this game because of the way they lost to Penn State at home. But it wasn’t like the Nittany Lions stole that game. They led by 12 points with just over six minutes to play. The light at the end of the tunnel for Ohio State, however, is that Penn State had to shoot better than they’ve shot all season long. Can they do that again? It’s doubtful. The Buckeyes also shot incredibly well in that game — 56% from the field, 47% from three, and 16-16 at the free throw line. They shouldn’t need to do that again. The return of Kam Williams will help, but Andre Wesson will likely start again and his defense should help keep Penn State from getting out to a 5-for-5 start from three-point territory. In the end, I just can’t believe Ohio State would get swept by Penn State during a season like this.

Ohio State 70 – Penn State 67


10 Responses

  1. rotflmao…getting bitch slapped by a bunch of average at best players on a bad team. PATHETIC!

    1. Fwiw, Holtmann and other coaches around the B1G have said PSU has multiple NBA players on the team. But this is still very ugly.

      1. I know what they’ve said. Doesn’t change anything when watching. PSU is a bad team. Coaches and paid for BTN analysts have to “be nice.”

        I have no idea why this Buckeye team plays frightened against them. They looked absolutely scared for the first 25 minutes.

        1. Penn State’s gonna be in the tournament. They did look timid. PSU seems like a bad matchup for them.

          1. I agree, but it’s becoming a trend. Football, Volleyball, Wrestling, and now basketball. It’s just mystifying why Ohio State looks so bad against that school. I personally believe that it’s in their heads.

            I’m not buying yet that Penn State makes the Tourny. I see them losing 2 more games and “unless” they have to face the Buckeyes in the Conference Tourny, they will get chut out of the tourny.

            IF on the other hand the Buckeyes have to face Penn State in the Big 10 tourny could actually be on the outside looking in, because their out of conference matchups they looked bad in. Seems like any team that really stands in their and throws punches, this team folds. It’s fun to ponder a Cinderella like season for the Buckeyes, but it’s looking less likely.

            No matter what, this game, and actually both games against this PSU squad look really bad. They won’t go unnoticed in the selections committee.

  2. Don’t worry the clown show will continue to build their resume’ on the dead carcass of another chicken performance by the Buckeyes. IF YOU CAN’T BEAT A BAD TEAM………….quit.

    1. You THINK you know too much!!! You’re assessment of the PSU hoop team couldn’t be more wrong. This has solidified my doubts on your many football comments!

      1. I think you don’t have a clue. BTW, I couldn’t care less about you views entirely. SO. Your comments mean absolutely nothing.

  3. I like your thinking, Tony. They are not likely to shoot 78% again and they won’t have the adrenaline rush from having that one key player return from academic suspension on a surprise basis. I liked the way we shut down Iowa’s three point shooters for most of the game. Also, I hope we put our best defender or defenders on Tony Carr. And hopefully KBD will have his 3 point shooting touch for the whole game.

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