Evan Turner is Ohio State. Ohio State is Evan Turner. The wing leads the Buckeyes in scoring, rebounding, assists, and steals. So you would think that if you stop Turner, you stop Ohio State. Well, Penn State found out last night that just isn't true. The Nittany Lions held Turner to just 6 points, scraped together from his infrequent shooting (only 4 shots). But the Buckeyes nevertheless pounded Penn State in the second half, prevailing 73-59 in a 53 possession game. Turner found other ways to contribute, dishing 8 assists and grabbing 6 rebounds. And his teammates picked up the scoring, four of them scoring in double figures. In fact, the whole team had a pretty easy time putting the ball in the basket, as the Buckeyes scored 1.38 points per possession. Yowzas! Even better news - our constant nagging about the turnovers might be getting through. The Buckeyes had only 6 in this one (and only 9 against Illinois), but then again, Penn State's defense is not exactly "frenetic." Ohio State's upcoming games against Purdue and Northwestern might provide a more rigorous test.
The blueprint for shutting down the Nittany Lions, however, is well-known: make someone other than Stanley Pringle, Talor Battle, or Jamelle Cornley beat you. The trio combined for 31 points on 30 shots, and on most nights, the rest of the team doesn't have another 30 points between them. The good news is that shutting the big three down is easier said than done, and so long as the Nittany Lions can take care of Indiana at home, they'll finish with at least 9 conference wins and 20 wins overall. Anything can happen on Selection Sunday, but I think most bracketologists would have Penn State playing on a neutral floor in April. Box score.
Tonight, Northwestern visits Indiana (our prediction might be on the line - we forecast 2 wins for the Hoosiers and this is their best remaining chance) and Iowa visits Michigan State.