Daniel Chi / Asst. photo editor
The road hasn’t been too kind to the Ohio State men’s basketball team this season.
Of the Buckeyes’ four losses on the year, three (Duke, Illinois, Michigan State) have come outside of the friendly confines of the Schottenstein Center.
OSU (14-4, 4-2 Big Ten) is set to play an away game Saturday, but they shouldn’t have too much trouble notching a win. The team the Buckeyes are traveling roughly five hours to play is the conference’s worst club: Penn State.
The Nittany Lions (8-11, 0-7) are the Big Ten’s only winless team in conference play. Their leading scorer, senior point guard Tim Fraizer, is out for the year with an injury after playing in just four games. PSU has struggled heavily to score the ball, as the Nittany Lions rank near the bottom of the country in nearly all offensive team statistics.
Still searching for a team identity, as senior forward Evan Ravenel said, the Buckeyes are looking to start a win streak after defeating Iowa Tuesday night in Columbus, 72-63. If history is any proof, OSU shouldn’t have too much trouble doing that Saturday.
The Buckeyes have won 17 straight games against PSU and have been victorious in the last six meetings that took place in State College, Pa.
“I don’t know what it is. I do like the way we’ve come out of there in the times we’ve gone, though,” OSU coach Thad Matta said, speaking about his team’s previous treks to play the Nittany Lions on the road.
Matta said has been sure to point out to his team that PSU has shown the capability in the past to knock off a ranked opponent, though.
“He doesn’t want it to be us,” Ravenel said.
The Buckeyes played like they were ready to go in practice this week, according to Matta.
“If you don’t come to practice ready to play, you’re going to look really bad. I think guys have caught on to that,” Matta said.
OSU’s leading scorer, Deshaun Thomas, will be coming off an injury Saturday. The junior forward gashed the area above his right eye in the contest against the Hawkeyes Tuesday and received six stitches. Thomas has been playing in the Big Ten for two-plus years, but the battle scar was the first he’s gotten.
“In high school people barely touched me. Now, the Big Ten is physical,” Thomas said.
OSU and PSU are set to tip-off at noon Saturday.