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Staff Predictions: Penn State Basketball vs. No. 21 Ohio State

Penn State basketball (12-5, 2-4 Big Ten) will host No. 21 Ohio State (12-5, 2-4 Big Ten) on Saturday afternoon at the Bryce Jordan Center, as the two teams forge on in Big Ten conference play.

The Nittany Lions are aiming to snap a three-game losing skid, which has recently forced them out of the AP Top 25. Penn State and Ohio State are tied near the bottom of the Big Ten standings, as the Buckeyes are recovering from a cold streak of their own. The last matchup between these two teams resulted in a 30-point win for Ohio State, so the Nittany Lions will have their backs against the wall going into this one.

Here’s how our staff expects Penn State to fare in its second go-around with the Buckeyes.

Will Pegler: Ohio State 81, Penn State 67

I think the electric Bryce Jordan Center atmosphere will propel the Nittany Lions early in Saturday’s game, but Ohio State will start to run away this one as it wears on. Kaleb Wesson had a massive game the last time these two squads met, and I expect the Nittany Lions to struggle to stop him again. The star Buckeye big man has been a force all season long, and that’s not going to change on Saturday.

I think Lamar Stevens will have a big day, but it’s not going to be enough to match with a powerful Ohio State team. Inconsistent shooting from the Nittany Lions will make it nearly impossible to keep up with the Buckeyes’ offense, and Penn State is going to slide into a four-game losing streak on Saturday.

Otis Lyons: Penn State 84, Ohio State 82

The Nittany Lions have little room for error in what will be their last shot to bounce back before a trip to Ann Arbor next Wednesday. The offensive production has been suspect during the three-game skid, however, the 46-point output in the first half against Minnesota shows the potential of the team, which averages more than 75 points per game. 

Lamar Stevens and Mike Watkins will need to lead the team by example, along with a valuable Izaiah Brockington double-digit effort. If the Nittany Lions can get past the 75 point mark, they will take the win in front of a crowd that may exceed the hype from the Maryland game in December. If the Nittany Lions fall into a scoring drought that is longer than three minutes, however, then the Buckeyes will return to Columbus with a victory.

Ryan Parsons: Penn State 79, Ohio State 76

The Nittany Lions showed us at the Palestra that they thrive in front of an electric home atmosphere, and Saturday is shaping up to be just that. Thanks to it being the annual THON game, the BJC has opened up the upper seating levels to allow for more capacity and more noise.

Penn State’s recent woes haven’t looked too different from what Ohio State has been struggling with, as both teams are in the middle of a bumpy few games. However, the Buckeyes just snapped their losing streak with an impressive win over Nebraska, pinning the Nittany Lions’ backs against the wall. I think Penn State will be able to overcome its’ shooting troubles and pull off the upset in front of the home crowd.

Matt DiSanto: Penn State 73, Ohio State 66

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from watching Big Ten basketball so far this winter, it’s that nothing these teams do makes sense. Nothing. Ohio State is currently ranked No. 21, has a stacked roster, and has lost four of its last five games, making the Buckeyes even hungrier for a win. That said, they’ll lose…because the chaos of Big Ten basketball says so.

Assuming Pat Chambers and Co. adhere to the law of averages, the Nittany Lions’ low three-point percentage will even out eventually if they just keep chucking up shots from downtown. I’m predicting a big game from the team’s shooters and a get-back-on-track performance from Mike Watkins in the paint. No matter the outcome, at least we’ll get free t-shirts.

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