Nittany Lions Seek First Big Ten Championship
March 13, 2011
INDIANAPOLIS, IND., March 13, 2011 -- Seeking its first NCAA Tournament bid since 2001, Penn State will play in the program's first-ever Big Ten Championship game today against No. 1 Ohio State. The clash will tip at 3:30 p.m. at Conseco Fieldhouse and air on CBS, the Penn State Sports Network and www.GoPSUsports.com.
Winners of four consecutive games, and 7-2 the last four weeks, the Nittany Lions (19-13) will be seeking their first Big Ten title and the Big Ten's automatic berth into the NCAA Championship. The 68-team NCAA field will be announced on CBS at 6 p.m.
Penn State will be seeking its first conference title since winning the 1991 Atlantic-10 Tournament Championship, followed by an NCAA first round win over No. 4 seed UCLA. The Nittany Lions have beaten Indiana, No. 13 Wisconsin and 2009 and 2010 NCAA Final Four participant Michigan State en route to today's Big Ten Tournament fina1.
The Nittany Lions will be playing No. 1 Ohio State for the second time this month and will be seeking their first win over the nation's No. 1 team in program history (0-12). The Buckeyes also are the only Big Ten team the five Nittany Lion seniors have not beaten during their careers.
Penn State and Ohio State will be meeting for the fourth time in the Big Ten Tournament, with the Buckeyes owning a 2-1 lead. The teams last met in the tournament in a quarterfinal victory for No. 1 seed Ohio State over No. 8 Penn State in Indianapolis, 63-56, in 2006. In the 2000 tournament, the ninth-seeded Nittany Lions knocked off the top-seeded Buckeyes, 71-66 in the quarterfinals.
Ohio State leads the series, 29-13, and has won 15-straight in the series since Penn State posted a 64-47 win in State College in 2004. The Buckeyes won both meetings this season, 69-66 in Columbus on Jan. 15 and 82-61 on March 1 in the Bryce Jordan Center, as OSU's Jon Diebler connected on a Big Ten record 10 of 12 three-pointers.
Penn State is making its fourth post-season tournament championship game appearance in program history, going 2-1 in those games. The Nittany Lions appeared in the A-10 Tournament championship game twice (1989 & 1991), downing George Washington (81-75) in Rec Hall to win it 1991, and won the 2009 NIT (69-63 over Baylor) in Madison Square Garden. Talor Battle, Penn State's career scoring leader, had 12 points, 7 assists and 6 rebounds in that game while David Jackson had 10 points and 4 rebounds in the NIT Championship game.
The Nittany Lions are looking to become the second team to win four games in four days to capture the Big Ten Tournament title in the event's 14 years. Iowa, which also was a No. 6 seed, did so to capture the 2001 title.
Penn State is seeking the 10th 20-win season in program history, fifth in the Big Ten era (since 1993) and ninth in the last 23 years. It would be the second 20-win season in the last three years under Ed DeChellis whose 2009 team set a program record with 27 wins.
Penn State also is seeking a program record equaling fifth victory over a Top 25 ranked team (also 2001) this season. The Nittany Lions have beaten five RPI Top 50 teams and have 10 wins over Top 100 squads.
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