Big Ten Tournament
Tipoff: Noon Friday at Conseco Fieldhouse, Indianapolis
Records: Penn State (15-13, 6-10, No. 8 seed); Ohio State (23-4, 12-4, No. 1 seed)
Coaches: Ed DeChellis is 31-55 in three seasons at Penn State, 1-2 at Big Tens and 136-148 in 10 seasons overall. Thad Matta is 43-16 in two seasons at Ohio State, 1-1 at Big Tens and 145-47 in six seasons overall.
Series: Ohio State leads, 20-12
Last meeting: The Buckeyes beat the Lions twice in the regular season, most recently 75-64 at the BJC Jan. 21.
TV: ESPN (Brent Musburger play by play, Steve Lavin color, Erin Andrews sideline).
Radio: Penn State Radio Network (Steve Jones play by play, Dick Jerardi color).
Live Stats: See the Big Ten Tournament Page.
G Ben Luber, 6-0 Jr. (7.4)
G David Jackson, 6-1 Jr. (7.1)
F Geary Claxton, 6-5 So. (15.5)
F Travis Parker, 6-5 Sr. (11.9)
F Jamelle Cornley, 6-6 Fr. (11.2)
G J.J. Sullinger, 6-5 Sr. (9.7)
G Jamar Butler, 6-1 So. (10.1)
G Je'Kel Foster, 6-2 Sr. (13.3)
F Matt Sylvester, 6-7 Sr. (7.9)
F Terence Dials, 6-9 Sr. (15.3)
Dials is the Big Ten Player of the Year, but Penn State held him in check in both games during the regular season. He had five points in the first matchup and eight in the second.
The Buckeyes hammered PSU in Columbus in both teams' Big Ten opener Jan. 5, 104-69. On his team's improvement since, DeChellis said, I think we're a little better defensively, we're a little better offensively; We are playing with a little more confidence. Those are three important things.
With four players who can hit the 3-pointer, Ohio State presents difficult matchup problems for the PSU zone. But the Buckeyes enter the tournament having made only 14 of their past 66 triple tries (21 percent).
The winner of the 8-9 game has knocked off No. 1 in four of the previous eight Big Ten tournaments. Penn State, then a No. 9, ousted top-seeded OSU in 2000.
FOS Prediction: Ohio State 71, Penn State 63
Comment: The Lions have proven they can tackle anyone anywhere. But there is just too little time to prepare for an opponent whose style is radically different than what PSU faced in the first round.
FOS Record: 25-3.