Greetings Hoops Fans! This is Dave Horning for HoopsOnLane.com Fan Podcast with a preview of the next Ohio State Buckeyes game which will be the first game of the post-season which starts with the Big Ten Tournament which is being played this year in Madison Square Garden and starting a week earlier than in most years. The Ohio State Buckeyes finished the regular season Big Ten conference play with a record of 15 wins and 3 losses, tied for second place with Purdue and one game behind Michigan State. Since the Buckeyes beat Purdue in their only game, we have earned the second seed and a double-bye – no game on Wednesday or Thursday this week. The Buckeyes first game will be televised on the Big Ten Network and will be played on Friday, March 2nd at 6:30pm against the winner of the Penn State – Northwestern game – and it turns out the winner was Penn State.

Darn! I was really cheering for Northwestern!

It’s not just that Penn State has beaten us twice – it is that they have played such a physical style of play that I have no desire to play them again and subject our Buckeyes to potential injury.

In the first game between Ohio State and Penn State, Josh Reaves played Keita Bates-Diop tough. Keita finished with a great 3-point shot that tied the game at 79 before Penn State’s Tony Carr made that long shot to win the game. Keita finished 4 of 6 on his 3-point shots and with 24 points. Keita was in foul trouble for much of the game because of stupid touch fouls calls by the refs, who were letting the Penn State big men pound on Kaleb and Keita. It was the worst refereed game of the year.

Here’s an example of the physical type of play that Penn State used against Ohio State in the game in Columbus:

Number 44 for Penn State is 6-10 Senior Forward Julian Moore. It looks like he is being coached to play basketbrawl against Kaleb Wesson.

Kaleb Wesson played some great defense – honest defense.

And, Penn State, at times, also played fair and honest basketball defense with success:

On that play, there was some contact, but it was not shoving and tripping. Penn State forced the shot clock violation and got the defensive stop with fair defense.

However, Penn State doesn’t always play fair on defense. In the second game, at Penn State, Josh Reaves caused an ankle injury to Kaleb Wesson in the first two minutes of the game when he got his feet underneath Kaleb who was coming down with the defensive rebound. I thought it was a dirty play, and I applauded Coach Holtmann taking a technical foul shortly thereafter to protest his overly-physical play. Let’s hope that Kaleb is now fully recovered.

Penn State’s ability to play physical against Ohio State may be more limited in this upcoming match-up. That is because the Penn State Center/Forward Mike Watkins was injured in the Michigan game last Wednesday. It happened when he jumped to try to block a shot and landed on one leg – that entire leg absorbing the energy of his 250 pound body. He is game-to-game with his return. He only played 5 minutes in that Michigan game, and did not play at Nebraska. He did not play in this Big Ten Tournament against Northwestern. Will he play against Ohio State?

Penn State’s Starting Line-up will probably be:
Number 21 – 6-9 Freshman Forward/Center John Harrar – he got the start instead of Number 44 – 6-10 Senior Center/Forward Julian Moore – but look for them both to be in the game to replace Mike Watkins, whom I am assuming will not play.
Number 11 – 6-8 Sophomore Forward Lamar Stevens
Number 23 – 6-4 Junior Guard Josh Reaves – Penn State’s best defender who will probably be assigned to guard Keita Bates-Diop.
Number 10 – 6-5 Sophomore Guard Tony Carr – the player who made 4 of 5 3-point attempts against Ohio State in Columbus – including the game winner from mid-court. He was 6 of 10 against Northwestern.
and finally, Number 33 – 6-2 Senior Guard Shep Garner – who was also 4 of 5 on his 3-point attempts against Ohio State in Columbus – he made the first two from long range – 10 feet outside the 3-point arc – the Buckeyes just weren’t ready at the beginning of the game – will they be ready on Friday night? Shep Garner must be more closely guarded – even when he is 30 feet from the basket. That’s Number 33 – Shep Garner.

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

Penn State relies on the shooting of their two guards, Tony Carr and Shep Garner. If Ohio State can shut them down, we will win easily – but that is easier said than done – they shoot from long distance – 5 to 10 feet behind the arc – so do you extend your defense to guard that? I have no idea how to stop that, and it will be interesting to see what Coach Holtmann will do.

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
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.

This is Dave Horning for HoopsOnLane.com Fan Podcast. Go Bucks!