After a game like this, we are prone to overreact. It was an ugly loss in which Penn State was outclassed in every phase of the game by Ohio State. I hated watching it. Odds are you also hated watching it. And my guess is the way that you are going to let out some of the anger that you feel is by going into our comment section and scorching the god damn earth.
But here's the thing: we shouldn't get all that mad, because this is literally exactly what we should have expected.
Listen, Penn State is a perfectly meh basketball team. This has been proven throughout the season, as Penn State is one of those teams that plays down to bad competition most of the time and plays up to good competition most of the time. Of course, we have seen a few games where the former didn't happen and Penn State thoroughly kicked the shit out of worse teams.
The one thing we haven't really seen is the Nittany Lions getting thoroughly outclassed by a much better team (or, rather, we haven't seen that since Penn State took on Wisconsin in Madison, and even that felt a little more even than tonight). But that is exactly what occurred. Coming into tonight, we all knew that Ohio State was a better team, and more so than anything, its squad of ultra-talented athletes were a really bad match for a Nittany Lions squad that sometimes struggles against über-athletic teams. This isn't anyone's fault, which is something that people naturally want to do after a loss like this -- you know, pointing the finger -- it's just that you do not match up with certain teams well. Penn State does not match up with Ohio State well. It showed tonight.
D.J. Newbill got 16 points on 13 shots. Brandon Taylor had 11 points, and went 3-for-6 from three. Shep Garner had 9 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists. Eight other players combined to score 19 points. Woof.
Four Factors Analysis
Ohio State was a well-oiled offensive machine tonight, which makes sense, because they are a top-20 offense in the country, per KenPom. The Buckeyes got to the line A TON and converted (21-for-31), and were pretty good from the field (24-for-54, 6-for-16 from three). Conversely, Penn State didn't get to the line nearly as much (11-for-18) and wasn't as good from the field (19-for-59, 6-for-17 from three). So, yeah. A tough night.
Player of the Game: You! The Person Who Watched!
Congratulations! You sat through that horrible game! You deserve this, you really do. You went into this game probably expecting Penn State to lose to a superior team, but you watched anyway, because you love your school and its teams. You will get extra brownie points if you don't act like an asshole in the comment section. I believe in you!
As for a player, I dunno, D.J. played well. Shep had a solid night. Ross hit a few jumpers! Woo!
- Stop Starting Slow, Dammit -- I'm not going to sit here and insult your intelligence and say the only thing that led to Penn State's loss was the opening stretch in which Ohio State scored 12 points before Penn State got on the board. But holy shit that was ugly. This is one of the biggest criticisms you can make of the Chambers-led Nittany Lions -- the team has this nasty habit of digging itself into huge holes. They can sometimes afford to do this (although they really shouldn't ever), just not on the road and definitely not against the No. 23 team in the country.
- Center of Attention -- Please, hoops gods, just let Julian Moore get most of the minutes at center. He was much better than Jordan Dickerson or Donovon Jack tonight, he actually seems like he has some idea of how to play offense and he doesn't carry himself like he just heard that he has to get a root canal. Dickerson looks perpetually uncomfortable, Jack has no confidence, Moore has the body language of a competent basketball player. He is the best center on Penn State's roster.
- Genooooooooo -- That's usually a good thing. Not tonight. Thorpe was viewed as an important guy if the Nittany Lions would have a chance. He went 0-for-6, scored zero points, had one rebound, no assists, no steals and four fouls. He'll bounce back, because he is good at basketball, but he had a tough go tonight.
- Dogs! -- People tweeted dogs at us all night. It was fun.
Penn State has a few days to hopefully regroup, which is nice. The bad news is the squad has to take on a really good Maryland team for the second time in a few weeks on Saturday night in the Bryce Jordan Center. Under most circumstances, it should be a raucous crowd, as it is a late home game on the Big Ten Network against a great opponent. However, this is Penn State we're talking about here, so hopefully the 6,500 people who go to the game are kind of loud!