Ohio State Basketball: Another battle against dreaded Penn State

COLUMBUS, OH - FEBRUARY 10: Jae'Sean Tate /

The Ohio State basketball team has struggled against Penn State this season, and now they will meet for a third battle.

There was one team in the Big Ten Tournament the Buckeyes didn’t want to see, the Penn State Nittany Lions. However, after Penn State’s battle of a 65-57 victory over Northwestern last night, it sealed the opportunity for a third match-up with Ohio State.

The two prior match-ups this season resulted in Ohio State losses; a buzzer-beating three at home and a crushing defeat in State College, PA.

Nothing screams ease from either side in this game. Ohio State is an excellent team seeing Penn State for the third time in a season. Penn State sees an Ohio State team they’ve already toppled twice.

Upon a sort of point-for-point evaluation, it could very well be a wire-to-wire kind of match-up.

Overall, this games comes down to two factors for the Buckeyes; containing Tony Carr and keeping Keita Bates-Diop active.

More from Scarlet and Game

In the first game between the teams, Tony Carr scored 28 points and sunk a game-winning three at the buzzer. On his home floor in game two, he scored 30 without expending too much apparent effort.

Carr led the Big Ten scoring 20 points per game this season; if Ohio State holds him under that point total, it’s hard to imagine a route to Penn State victory. However, that requires much more defensive focus from the Buckeyes. It doesn’t help that Carr comes into play less than 24 hours after scoring 25 points in the win.

Meanwhile, Bates-Diop had two very different games against the Nittany Lions. In the first, he scored 25 points, nearly forcing overtime in a tough game for the Buckeyes. However, he really struggled at Penn State, scoring just 10 points in that loss.

Just call it a battle of the stars, at least on paper.

Next: Denzel Ward draft stock high prior to NFL combine

Tonight’s game will tip-off at 6:30 from Madison Square Garden in New York City. However, if you’re watching at home, the game is on the Big Ten Network. This is a tremendously important game for the Buckeyes heading towards the NCAA Tournament. This is MUST WATCH material, people!