Ohio St. Buckeyes vs. Penn St. Nittany Lions Pick & Prediction JANUARY 20th 2024

Penn State pushes to carry the momentum from its home upset of No.11 Wisconsin on the road against struggling Ohio State on Saturday.

The Nittany Lions (9-9, 3-4 Big Ten) got their signature win, 87-83, on Tuesday before a raucous crowd that stormed the court after handing the Badgers their first conference defeat.

Penn State guard Kanye Clary credits first-year coach Mike Rhoades for instilling confidence.

“Penn State’s been historically a football (school). So, coach Rhoades, he always says we’re going to be bold, different, aggressive. He preached that a lot,” Clary said. “Going forward that this is going to help us because we showed a lot of people what we’re capable of. We just have to do our part.”

The Buckeyes (12-5, 2-4) are struggling for answers while trying to deflect questions of another January failure.

They have lost three straight games. That follows a four-game winning streak which began after an 83-80 loss at Penn State on Dec. 9 when Ohio State blew an 18-point second half lead.

Last season, the Buckeyes went 2-7 in January 2023 as part of a stretch of 14 losses in 15 games from Jan. 5 to Feb. 23.

Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann said there’s no comparison.

“All the numbers would suggest it’s much different than last year,” he said. “The quality of our games, even the ones we’ve lost here, the quality of play has been much better than the stretch we were in last year.

“Obviously, it’s an end-result game, and we got to figure out how to finish out. But, at the end of the day, our play has been significantly better than that stretch.”

If the Buckeyes are to have a chance against Penn State, they will need to find their long-range shooting after going 3 of 25 on 3-pointers (12.0 percent) in a 73-65 loss at Michigan on Monday.

In the two prior games, they made 25.9 percent vs. Indiana and 31.8 percent against Wisconsin from beyond the arc.

Ohio State is shooting 35.2 percent (135 of 383) for the season from long range, and 44.6 percent (457 of 1,025) on field-goal attempts.

–Field Level Media

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