Penn State and Ohio State basketball couldn't be more different. While Ohio State looks to take over the role as the top team in the nation, Penn State looks to gain national respect as a win today would be their 3rd straight over a ranked opponent. Ohio State a preseason favorite to win the Big Ten takes on a Penn State team on an improbable run in the Big Ten. This game means a lot for both teams and a win today could provide both teams with a boost heading into the thick of conference play.
Ohio State puts their unblemished Big Ten record and overall record at stake today in Columbus, a place in which the Nittany Lions have not won in over two decades. Although the freshman phenom Jared Sullinger has carried Ohio State with his strong play, early in the season, since entering Big Ten play Sullinger has seen his numbers drop.
David Lighty, William Buford, Jon Diebler and Aaron Craft make for a strong supporting cast that's high percentage outside shooting has given teams fits all year. For Penn State to win it will take ths ability to control the area outside the paint. Solid interior defense will be key to slowing down Sullinger, but Penn State will lose if Lighty and Diebler find their stroke early.
For Penn State it comes down to the supporting cast. Talor Battle, Jeff Brooks, and David Jackson have been consistent scoring threats but the lack of bench production has been Penn State's biggest issue. If players like Jermaine Marshal and Billy Oliver can contribute solid minutes it will go a long way towards an upset. Either way the Nittany Lions will have to do a lot of things right in order to pull off the upset. Ohio State shouldn't take a streaking confident Penn State team lightly though or their own run at the #1 spot may be over before it even begins.