Greetings Hoops Fans! This is Dave Horning for HoopsOnLane.com Fan Podcast with a preview of the next Ohio State Buckeyes game … a home game coming up this Thursday, January 25th at 8:00pm Columbus time against Penn State Nittany Lions at the Schott. The game will be broadcast on Big Ten Network and on radio at The Fan 97.1 FM.

With its win at home over Nebraska, Ohio State improves its record to 9 wins and no losses in Big Ten play – and moves into sole possession of first place with a half-game lead over Purdue, who has a record of 8-0.

Ohio State has moved up to #13 in the AP Poll. Gonzaga is #15 and Clemson is #18 – and those are two teams that beat Ohio State earlier this year. Ohio State is also #13 in the USA Today Coaches Poll, and on the Team Rankings website of all 351 Division 1 Men’s Basketball programs, Ohio State is now ranked #14 and Penn State is ranked #134 – only Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois are lower ranked Big Ten teams. Penn State’s record in the Big Ten is 3 wins and 5 losses – tied for 9th place with Wisconsin.

Penn State’s last game was a loss at Northwestern by the score of 61 to 70. In that game, Penn State was without its best defensive player, 6-4 Junior Guard Josh Reaves, who missed his fourth game in a row because of problems in the classroom. However, on January 12, Penn State was able to beat Nebraska at home without the services of Reaves. In that game, they held Nebraska’s James Palmer to just 5 points on 1 of 9 shooting. Nebraska’s Palmer was the guy who scored 34 against Ohio State on Monday. But maybe Reaves will be back in the lineup on Thursday night – remember Minnesota’s Amir Coffey suddenly starting against Ohio State last Saturday, January 20th after missing a number of games because of a HAGL injury.

If Reaves is still unable to play, Penn State’s starting lineup will be:
Number 24 – 6-9 Sophomore Forward Mike Watkins
Number 11 – 6-8 Sophomore Forward Lamar Stevens
Number 10 – 6-5 Sophomore Guard Tony Carr – their leading scorer at 19 points per game – that’s Number 10 Tony Carr
Number 33 – 6-2 Senior Guard Shep Garner – their 3-point shooter who makes 41% of his attempts – That’s Number 23 Shep Garner – and he will take some long ones.
And finally, Number 5 – 6-1 Freshman Guard Jamari Wheeler

If you see Number 23 in the starting lineup or on the court, that’s Josh Reaves – so look for Number 23.

Penn State is coached by Patrick Chambers in his 7th year.

Penn State will need its best defensive effort to compete with the Buckeyes. Ohio State has been in a shooting slump, and if the Buckeyes can pull out if it, it could be a decisive win for the Buckeyes.

Ohio State’s Starting Lineup will be:
Number 34 – 6-9 Freshman Center Kaleb Wesson
Number 33 – 6-7 Junior Power Forward Keita Bates-Diop – who is now making just 37% of his 3-point shots
Number 15 – 6-2 Senior Shooting Guard Kam Williams
Number 3 – 6-1 Junior Shooting Guard or Point Guard CJ Jackson, and
Number 1 – 6-4 Senior Jae’Sean Tate, Point Guard or Small Forward

Ohio State is coached by Chris Holtmann, in his first year.

Ohio State plays Penn State again this year in State College on Thursday, February 15th – three weeks later. That game could be a tough contest, but I’m hoping the home crowd for this game will give the Buckeye shooters the lift they need to return to good shooting – especially on the 3-point shots.

In the last 5 games, Ohio State has shot the following on 3-point attempts:
17 of 29 against Maryland for 59%
7 of 21 against Rutgers for 33%
6 of 17 against Northwestern for 35%
4 for 20 against Minnesota – that’s 20%
2 for 14 against Nebraska – that’s 14%
It’s time to reverse this trend line.

This is Dave Horning for HoopsOnLane.com Fan Podcast. See you at the Schott!