Penn State Basketball

NCAA Tournament: Penn State Basketball vs. Texas Picks, Predictions, More

Penn State Basketball is just 40 minutes away from making its first Sweet Sixteen since 2001.  And believe it or not, they have a real shot to make it happen.

In front of the Nittany Lions are the 2 seed Texas Longhorns, a team that is likely the most complete opponent Penn State will have faced all year.
Texas won the Big 12 Tournament after blowing out the Kansas Jayhawks in the final.  Texas easily dispatched the Colgate Raiders 81-61 in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Colgate is actually a BETTER three-point shooting team than the Nittany Lions. So, why give Penn State a chance against the No. 5 KenPom ranked team in the country as 5.5 point underdogs Saturday night at 7:45 p.m. on CBS?
As discussed on Shots Gotta Fall: The Penn State Basketball Podcast, the Longhorns are a complete team, but they don’t excel in any one area that will take advantage of a Nittany Lions weakness. In the episode recorded after the Nittany Lions’ win over Texas A&M (‘32 Teams Left‘), it was noted Texas isn’t a brilliant three-point shooting team, averaging just under 34% from three on the season.
The Longhorns don’t have an MVP-caliber player that can carry a team on their back, though former Minnesota Golden Gopher Marcus Carr is averaging 15.9 points and 4.1 assists per game.


Further, the Longhorns don’t have a Zach Edey or Hunter Dickinson in the paint that can take advantage of the Nittany Lions lack of size under the basket. Texas has some height, but leading rebounder Timmy Allen only averages 5.4 rebounds per game followed by Dylan Disu 4.3 rebounds per game.
The scary part about the Longhorns is their lack of a true weakness.  Texas is balanced.
Texas is disciplined, even after undergoing a mid-season coaching change after Chris Beard was let go and replaced by assistant Rodney Terry.  Texas routed Gonzaga early in the season and of their 8 losses, only ONE was to a team that didn’t make the NCAA Tournament (Texas Tech).
But, as the Nittany Lions showed Thursday night, to beat the oldest team in the nation, you’re going to have to bring something special.
Because Penn State guard Jalen Pickett is going to keep dribbling his defender into the post until you make the unenviable decision as to whether or not to bring a second defender.
Is Texas enough of a complete team to overcome the hot-shooting Penn State team?  Sure.  But is it going to happen?  No.

Final Prediction:  Penn State 77 — Texas 71

Penn State Basketball
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About Author

Evan Smith

Evan Smith is an alum of Penn State (Marketing, Economics, 2011) and a basketball season ticket holder since 2006. NittanyCentral is his second reporting job following the Men's Basketball program. He co-founded and co-hosts the Shots Gotta Fall - The Penn State Basketball Podcast (the premiere, the best, the only) with Steve Travis. Smith's most proud moment covering the team was seeing the national No. 9 ranking during Pat Chambers' last year. His most embarrassing moment was spending almost a thousand dollars to travel 2,000 miles in 46 hours to watch the Nittany Lions lose to Temple in the 2011 NCAA Tournament (screw you Juan Fernandez).