Date/Time: February 27 at 7:00 pm EST
College Basketball Betting Favorite: Ohio State -6
The Penn State Nittany Lions went to Columbus and stunned the Buckeyes earlier this year. Ohio State has been up and down all season, and they’ll definitely be looking for revenge on Thursday night in State College. Can the Nittany Lions upend the Buckeyes twice in one season or will Ohio State get their revenge?
The Ohio State Buckeyes are like most of the teams in upper echelon of the Big Ten. They can beat anyone in the league on any given night, but they are also totally susceptible to being upset by a team that is near the bottom of the league. They already lost at home to Penn State, and the Buckeyes players have been talking about redemption in the newspapers this week. Make no mistake about it, the Buckeyes come into this game as a very hungry team.
Thad Matta’s team has won with defense this year. Their offense is up and down, and it is largely because they don’t have many consistent scoring options. Aaron Craft is an excellent point guard, but he isn’t a scorer. Craft is a winner though, and every coach in the country would love to have him on their team. Sam Thompson’s huge second half paced the Buckeyes to a victory over Minnesota last weekend. If Thompson can continue to emerge as an offensive star, this team has the potential to be very dangerous. Ohio State is at their best when they are playing quickly rather than being bogged down in a halfcourt game.
Penn State pulled off the upset at Ohio State, and they upset Indiana on the road. Other than that, the Nittany Lions have struggled in the past few weeks. They lost at home to Illinois and Iowa, and lost on the road at Nebraska and Michigan State. Penn State is dead last in the Big Ten in total defense. Opponents have shot the ball extremely well vs. the Nittany Lions from long range. In addition, Penn State hasn’t been able to grab defensive rebounds. Opponents are getting second chance points and tons of opportunities at the free throw line off offensive rebounds.
In Tim Frazier and D.J. Newbill, Penn State has two elite scoring options. The Nittany Lions really need an inside presence to balance out their offense though. Penn State will have to get to the basket and get chances at the charity stripe in this one if they are going to pull off another upset. The Nittany Lions have struggled in the second half of many games this year, so that’s something to keep a close eye on in this one.
Free Pick: Ohio State -6
The Buckeyes are clearly the better team, and they come in here with a lot of motivation. Penn State has already failed to cover the number several times against quality teams at home. Look for the Buckeyes’ defense to win them this game and cover the number.
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