Lions Face Buckeyes in Chicago

<B>Penn State vs. Ohio State <P>Big Ten Tournament <P>The United Center, Chicago <P>Game Time:</B> <B>5 p.m., Thursday.<B/>

Ed DeChellis Press Conference.

Records: Penn State: 7-22, 1-15, 11th seed; Ohio State: 19-11, 8-8, sixth seed.

Coaches: Ed DeChellis is 16-41 in his second season at Penn State and 121-133 overall. Thad Matta is 19-11 in his first year at Ohio State and 120-42 overall.

Series: The Buckeyes lead, 17-13.

Last meeting: Ohio State beat Penn State 66-56 at the Jordan Center Feb. 12.

Last time out: PSU fell at Michigan State (90-64) Saturday night. Ohio State stunned previously unbeaten Illinois (65-64) Sunday.

TV: espn2 (Brent Musburger, Steve Lavin, Erin Andrews).

Radio: Penn State Sports Network (Steve Jones, Dave Baker).

Next up: The winner gets Wisconsin Friday in a game that tips around 9 p.m. EST.

Probable Starters:

Penn State - G Ben Luber, 6-0 So. (6.0 ppg), G Danny Morrissey, 6-2 Fr. (7.8 ppg), F Geary Claxton, 6-5 Fr. (12.4 ppg), F Aaron Johnson, 6-8 Jr. (12.0 ppg), F Travis Parker, 6-5 Jr. (11.1 ppg).

Ohio State - G Je’Kel Foster, 6-3 Jr. (7.6 ppg), G Jamar Butler, 6-3 Fr. (3.7 ppg), G J.J. Sullinger, 6.5 Jr. (9.6 ppg), F Ivan Harris, 6-8 So. (7.6 ppg), Terence Dials, 6-9 Jr. (16.4 ppg).

Quick Quiz: Who was the leading scorer the last time these two teams met at Big Tens?

Quick Quiz II: Which is the only team Penn State has not faced in the seven-year history of the Big Ten tournament?

Penn State Notes:

• Penn State has lost 32 straight Big Ten road games. Including conference tournament action, the Nittany Lions have dropped 35 consecutive league outings away from the BJC. Penn State's last Big Ten road win was at Iowa (78-73) in the next to last game of the 2000-01 regular season.

• The Nittany Lions have lost 11 straight games this season. And have lost three in a row to the Buckeyes.

• Think PSU has no shot in the tournament? In 1999, Illinois entered as the No. 11 seed with 3-13 record in the league and advanced to the final.

• Luber has had three or more tunovers in each of the last six games. He has 23 throw-aways in that period, nearly four per game. Claxton is averaging nearly five turnovers per game over the past five games.

• Claxton has 88 offensive rebounds and 88 defensive rebounds on the season. It is difficult to recall a Nittany Lion regular who finished a season with more offensive than defensive boards.

• Mike Walker’s nine free-throw attempts (six makes) against Michigan State Saturday were the most by a PSU guard this year and more than he had in his previous nine games combined.

• Stat watch: Penn State shot 10 of 38 from the arc in two games against OSU this year, including a 2-of-18 effort in the last matchup.

Ohio State Notes:

• The Buckeyes are on self-imposed probation for violations under former coach Jim O’Brien and are not eligible for postseason action.

• Ohio State is 7-6 all time in the Big Ten tournament but is 0-1 in tourney action against the Nittany Lions.

• No. 6 seeds are 11-5 all-time in the tournament. Only the No. 2 seeds (14-3) have fared better.

• Stat watch: The Buckeyes have made 20 of 53 3-pointers against Penn State this season.

Quiz Answer: Penn State and Ohio State last met in the Big Ten tourney in 2000, with the Lions beating the No. 5 Buckeyes 71-66. In a game that featured Big Ten standouts such as Michael Redd and Scoonie Penn for the Buckeyes, and Joe Crispin and Jarrett Stephens for the Lions, OSU’s George Reese was the leading scorer with 22 points.

Quiz Answer II: Penn State has never faced Purdue in the tournament.

FOS Prediction: Ohio State 67, Penn State 55.

Comment: Lions don’t have enough left in the tank to beat a deep team like OSU.

FOS Prediction Record: 22-7.


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