INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 12: Jared Sullinger #0 and Deshaun Thomas #1 of the Ohio State Buckeyes react against the Michigan Wolverines during the semifinals of the 2011 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament at Conseco Fieldhouse on March 12, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Big Ten Basketball Championship 2011: Ohio State Defeats Penn State 71-60, All But Locks Up No. 1 Seed

Penn State and Ohio State battle it out in the Big Ten Tournament championship at 3:30 p.m. on CBS.

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Big Ten Basketball Championship 2011, Ohio State Vs. Penn State Score: Buckeyes Win 71-60

In case there was any doubt, the Ohio State Buckeyes all but locked up a No. 1 seed - and possibly the No. 1 overall seed - in the NCAA tournament with their 2011 Big Ten Tournament Championship victory over Penn State, 71-60. The Nittany Lions did better than many expected in staying in the game for an extended period of time, but at the end of the day, Ohio State were just too big, too athletic, and too good at hitting their deep jump shots for Penn State to contend with them for 40 minutes.

There are a lot of question marks around Ohio State's tournament prospects because of their depth, but by winning three games in three days in the Big Ten Tournament, the Buckeyes might have calmed some of those concerns. Despite the heavy volume of minutes over the weekend, everyone still looked fresh at the end of the game for Ohio State.

All three of Ohio State's top scorers, Jared Sullinger, William Buford and Jon Diebler were brilliant this afternoon, shooting better than 50% from the field. Ohio State shot 51% from the field, and at that kind of field goal conversion rate, they were always going to be difficult to beat.

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Big Ten Basketball Championship 2011, Ohio State Vs. Penn State: Buckeyes Pulling Away Late

Penn State played well in the first half of the 2011 Big Ten Basketball Championship, but Ohio State has come out guns blazing in the second half as they have steadily pulled away from the Nittany Lions. Their lead was only six points at the half, but at the under eight minute media timeout, Ohio State had gotten out to a 55-38 lead. Jared Sullinger has upped his game in the second half and the entire team is shooting well from behind the three point line. William Buford has almost certainly been the player of the game so far, scoring 16 points on 7-13 shooting.

In the second half, Penn State has been completely out-worked in every facet of the game. Ohio State are passing better, shooting better, and rebounding better. In the end, their athleticism and shooting ability has been way too much for the Nittany Lions to cope with.

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Big Ten Basketball Championship 2011, Ohio State Vs. Penn State Score: 29-23, Nittany Lions Hanging Around

Ohio State have been the better team in the first half of the 2011 Big Ten Basketball Championship, but not by nearly as wide of a margin as most people expected. The Buckeyes have a 29-23 lead, which is hardly impressive. Taylor Battle and Penn State are hanging around, playing tough defense and making some timely shots. They've forced Ohio State to play at their pace and the Buckeyes are shooting just 38.5% from the field. However, Jon Diebler nailed a three point shot at the buzzer to extend Ohio State's lead from three to six points, possibly giving them some positive momentum going into the second half.

Penn State have been incredibly effective in containing Jared Sullinger, and that's probably the biggest reason why they're still in this game at halftime. The Nittany Lions are a very good defensive team, but really, Sullinger should be able to take over this game if he really wants to. He doesn't look cut out for this whole "three games in three days" thing, as he's breathing heavily and walking around the court.

Ohio State are in good position to win the game and lock up a No. 1 seed, but they could stand to make it a little less difficult on themselves.

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Big Ten Basketball Championship 2011, Ohio State Vs. Penn State: Taylor Battle On Fire

Ohio State have a lead at the under 12 media timeout in the 2011 Big Ten Basketball Championship, but Taylor Battle is keeping Penn State in the game. He has all eight of their points, and those points are coming on very difficult jump shots. His entire team is playing fantastic defense, and Ohio State hasn't scored a field goal since the last media timeout. Still, that good defense isn't enough at the moment, as only Battle looks capable of scoring for the Nittany Lions.

It hasn't been as awful an offensive showing as the Penn State vs. Wisconsin game that almost single-handedly killed the sport of basketball, but at the moment, both teams are on pace for scores in the 40s. This seriously benefits Penn State, who will want to keep the game as low-scoring as possible for them to have the best chance to win.

At the under 12 minute media timeout, Ohio State lead 10-8 with 11:55 remaining in the first half.

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Big Ten Basketball Championship 2011, Ohio State Vs. Penn State: Frantic Start In Indianapolis

It's been an atypical start to the 2011 Big Ten Basketball Championship, with Penn State and Ohio State both looking to push the pace early. Not surprisingly, both teams look very physical and are very willing to take outside shots. Taylor Battle has already hit a couple of three point jumpers for the Nittany Lions, while the Buckeyes' variety of outside shooters are very willing to pull the trigger early. Ohio State are obviously trying to get Jared Sullinger involved as well, but he's been ineffective in the opening four minutes.

In order to nullify Sullinger, Penn State started in a 2-3 zone defense, but has shown a willingness to play man to man defense as well. It wouldn't be too shocking to see them switch throughout the game. If Penn State plays a lot of zone, the opportunities will be there for William Buford, David Lighty, and Jon Diebler to hit shots from behind the arc. It could be a good way for Penn State to contain Sullinger, but it could also be a recipe for disaster.

Ohio State leads 8-6 at the under 16 minute media timeout with 15:55 remaining in the first half.

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Big Ten Basketball Championship 2011: Bracket, Schedule, TV Information And More

The Big Ten Tournament Championship gets underway on Sunday afternoon as Penn State and Ohio State hit the court with an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament on the line. Ohio State is safely in the NCAA Tournament, likely as a No. 1 seed, while Penn State may need the automatic bid to make it in, even with its run through the tournament.

The Nittany Lions made it to the championship with a 13-point win over Michigan State in the semifinals. In the quarterfinals, Penn State won about the ugliest game you'll ever see, defeating Wisconsin, 36-33. Indiana was the Nittany Lions first victim in the tournament as Penn State rolled to a 61-55 win.

Ohio State survived rival Michigan on Saturday, pulling away in a 68-61 win. In the quarterfinals, the Buckeyes withstood their toughest test, beating Northwestern in overtime, 67-61. As always, keep an eye on national player of the year candidate Jared Sullinger as he and the Buckeyes battle the Nittany Lions with the Big Ten Tournament title on the line.

It all gets underway at 3:30 p.m. on CBS.

For more on Penn State, visit Black Shoe Diaries. For more on the Buckeyes, stop by Along the Olentangy.

Quarterfinals: Friday, March 11

No. 1 Ohio State Buckeyes defeats Northwestern, 67-61 (OT)

No. 4 Michigan Wolverines defeat No. 5 Illinois Fighting Illini, 60-55

No. 2 Purdue Boilermakers defeat Michigan State, 74-56

Penn State defeats Wisconsin 36-33

Semifinals: Saturday, March 12

Ohio State def. Michigan, 68-61

 Penn State def. Michigan State, 61-48

Championship game: Sunday, March 13

Ohio State vs. Penn State, 3:30 p.m., CBS

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