Pregame Glance: Penn State

Written January 24th, 2012 by Eric

The Buckeyes invite the Penn State Nittany Lions into the Schott for their only regular season meeting of the year tomorrow. Let’s take a look.

State Penn

School: Pennsylvania State University
Location: University Park, PA
Founded: 1855
Student Population: 44,832
School Type: Public
Division: NCAA
Conference: Big Ten Conference
Stadium: Bryce Jordan Center
Seating: 15,261
Built: 1995
Head Coach: Pat Chambers
Year: 1st

Like the rest of the Big Ten we examined Penn State in the preseason. Go read that post again, I’ll wait.

Penn State sits at 10-11 on the season, and 2-6 in Big Ten play. They actually maintained a winning record in the preseason with an 8-5 record. They were even undefeated until the fourth game of the season, when they ran into Kentucky on a neutral court.

Their Big Ten play, despite the record, may have been even more impressive. A close loss to Indiana when the Hoosiers were surging is a nice moral victory. More importantly, a 20 point win over Purdue, and a win over Illinois are the kinds of big upset wins in conference I was referring to in that season preview. The future is certainly bright in Happy Valley for the basketball squad.

Penn State has thus far at worst met my expectations for them this season, and may have exceeded it. A lot of the credit goes to first year head coach Pat Chambers. Chambers has found a way to make the most out of very little, and he’s done it by making certain that his star players are getting the opportunities to make things happen. He has his players attacking the boards, working together, and feeding off each other in ways that would be terrifying on any other team.

Tim Frazier gets it done in many phases of the game.

The guy making the most of it is probably the only name you’re familiar with. Junior guard Tim Frazier (6-1, 160) has taken hold of his role as the key player for this team. While he’s the leading scorer by a fair margin (18 ppg to the 2nd highest of 9.8) he is not the most lethal shooter on the team. What Frazier gives the Nitts is the ability to distribute the ball better than many in the Big Ten. He averages more than 6 assists per game, and in their biggest conference games picked up 9 (Purdue), 9 (Illinois), and 7 (Indiana). He is making things happen for his teammates, and it is reaping huge rewards for the team.

How the Nittany Lions will contend with Sullinger, Thomas, and Ravenel will be interesting to watch. Chambers currently starts freshmen forwards Ross Travis (6-8, 215) and Jonathan Graham (6-8, 220). Ross Travis is a recent addition to the lineup following the loss of sophomore forward Billy Oliver (6-8, 215) to an undisclosed illness. Coming in off the bench is sophomore forward Sasa Borovnjak (6-9, 235). All in all, OSU should have plenty of success in the paint with PSU not having a size advantage over the Buckeye’s front court.

Considering that Penn State’s top 3 scorers are their (current) starting guards, it should not come as a surprise that Pat Chambers will likely attempt to shoot over the Buckeyes rather than attack the inside. Expect PSU to try to press a faster paced game as they will want to keep the Buckeyes from setting up their interior defense. The Bucks will have to exert their will on the game tempo, and perhaps even slow things down a bit, in order to take PSU out of their gameplan.

Ohio State GP MIN PPG RPG APG SPG BPG TPG FG% FT% 3P%
Jared Sullinger

18

27.9

17.1

9.1

0.9

1.6

0.8

1.7

0.593

0.745

0.471

William Buford

20

32.1

15.2

4.5

3.4

0.9

0.2

2.1

0.436

0.86

0.378

Deshaun Thomas

20

28

15

4.2

1

0.5

0.1

1.4

0.553

0.727

0.349

Aaron Craft

20

29.5

8

3.2

5.1

2.5

0.1

2.1

0.466

0.689

0.296

Lenzelle Smith Jr.

20

22.5

6.2

4.6

2.2

1.3

0.1

1.1

0.518

0.488

0.486

Penn State GP MIN PPG RPG APG SPG BPG TPG FG% FT% 3P%
Tim Frazier

21

36.6

18

5

6.4

2.3

0.2

3.7

0.407

0.75

0.276

Jermaine Marshall

20

24.7

9.8

3.7

1.1

1.1

0.6

2.1

0.36

0.726

0.313

Cammeron Woodyard

20

25.3

8.7

4.3

0.3

0.9

0.3

1

0.355

0.878

0.355

Ross Travis

21

16.7

4.4

4.1

0.4

0.4

0.2

0.7

0.43

0.455

0.167

Jonathan Graham

15

15.1

3.1

3.4

0.1

0.3

0.6

1

0.4

0.375

0

Continue to expect Lenzelle Smith to take shots. His breakout game against Indiana was not a fluke, and Matta will be doing everything in his power to keep that confidence level riding high. OSU needs another big time scorer, not only this season but going into the future as well, and Lenzelle Smith may just fit the bill.

The Buckeyes and Nittany Lions will play in Value City Arena on Wednesday, January 25th at 6:30 PM EST. You’ll be able to see that game on the Big Ten Network.

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