Penn State Basketball is back in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2011.
After, what would have been nothing short of a miracle comeback Sunday afternoon against Purdue in the Big Ten title game, the Nittany Lions turn their focus to the Aggies of Texas A&M.
Here are 3 early thoughts on Penn State Basketball vs. Texas A&M
Texas A&M was not an easy draw.
Coming off their own conference final loss to No. 1 seeded Alabama, the Aggies have been playing extremely well as of late.
Big reason for the uptick in play is the Aggies defense. Allowing opponents to shoot just 40% from the field, and holding them to 65.7 points per game. Penn State Basketball will need Jalen Pickett and company to knock down open looks if they want to pull off the upset.
Luckily for Penn State Basketball, A&M does not have a 7-foot-4 big man to worry about.
Led by their two guards, Wade Taylor IV and Tyrece Radford, averaging 16.6 ppg and 13.3 ppg respectively.
Will the guard centric attack be easier for Penn State to handle and contain? It just could be possible.
Defensively the Nittany Lions have been pretty solid. They’ve struggled when outmatched by a big man, like Purdue has. They won’t have to deal with that as much on Thursday. If Penn State can rebound well, and stick to A&Ms dynamic guards, they will give themselves a chance.
Ultimately this game will come down to one name, and that’s Jalen Pickett.
Buzz Williams will almost certainly try to take Pickett away, so if the Aggies focus too much on Pickett who will step up?
Can Funk, Lundy, Wynter, and company knock down the shots needed?
It’s no secret that Penn State shoots the 3 early and often, and is hitting 38 percent as a team, with 3 starters hitting at a 40% rate. They will need a couple of those Thursday if they want to pull off the upset.
It’s not an easy matchup, Jay Wright on CBS said it could be the best game of the first round. Some experts had A&M as high as a 5 seed, but Penn State can win this game. Much needed rest and shooters surrounding Pickett give Penn State more than a fighting chance.