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Staff Predictions: How Long Will Penn State Hoops Last In The 2023 NCAA Tournament?

Penn State men’s basketball plays its first March Madness game since 2011 tomorrow.

The No. 10-seeded Nittany Lions will take on No. 7-seeded Texas A&M at 9:55 p.m. on Thursday, March 16, in Des Moines, Iowa, in the first round of the tournament.

As the countdown to the NCAA Tournament nears its completion, some of our staffers chimed in and gave their opinion as to how far the Nittany Lions will go in the year’s competition.

Aidan Conrad: First Weekend Exit

Penn State is the type of team that’s pretty unpredictable. If the team comes out hot from three, the Nittany Lions can be the subject of a potential Cinderella run. Still, I believe even if they get past an under-seeded No. 7 Texas A&M team, No. 2-seeded Texas will be too tough of a match for the Nittany Lions.

Prove me wrong, Micah.

Mikey DeAngelis: Round Of 32

It would not surprise me at all if Penn State made it as far as the Elite Eight, but in reality, Texas looks unstoppable right now. I think the Nittany Lions will squeeze past an underrated Texas A&M team before getting knocked out by the Longhorns. However, I hope I’m proved wrong.

CJ Doebler: Elite Eight

In my completely unbiased opinion, the Nittany Lions are poised to make a deep run in the tournament. No team has had better quality wins in the past month than Penn State, and the momentum it has coming into this tournament is unmatched by the rest of the field.

Penn State will open the tournament with an upset of No. 7-seeded Texas A&M and follow it up with two more wins on the path to the Elite Eight. A trip to the Elite Eight would be a huge success for a team that had very little hope of making the tournament just over a month ago, and it just might be the motivation Pat Kraft needs to give Micah Shrewsberry a Franklin-like contract for next year.

Brady Miller: Round Of 32

Penn State is one of the hottest teams in the nation right now. The Nittany Lions most likely would have found themselves as a No. 8 or No. 9 seed had they beaten Purdue in the Big Ten Championship game on Sunday.

The Nittany Lions are now a No. 10 seed, matched up against one of the best No. 7 seeds of all time in Texas A&M. However, Penn State is playing with an unreal level of confidence, and I see its recent momentum continuing into Thursday’s matchup.

In the Round of 32, Penn State would most likely find itself playing the Big 12 champion Texas Longhorns. The Nittany Lions have not faced a team with nearly as much talent as the Longhorns, and I don’t see them advancing past this round.

Nolan Wick: Round Of 32

I think Penn State is hot enough to steal a win from Texas A&M on Thursday, but likely facing Texas in the second round would be a very tall task. Can they do it? Totally. But it’s far-fetched. Stranger things have happened, though.

Brendan Wagner: Round Of 32

After a close win against Texas A&M, big brother Texas and Marcus Carr will put the Sweet Sixteen out of reach for the Nittany Lions.

Sophie Yadzinski: Final Four

I think Penn State hoops can make it all the way to Final Four, but it will be a battle to get there.

Texas poses as its biggest opponent in the West region, but Penn State has as good a chance as any to topple the giant. The schools have similar styles of play, and if Penn State can show up and play its game with solid defense, consistent shooting, and limited turnovers, I think the Nittany Lions have the grit to take down any team afterward.

CJ Gill: Sweet Sixteen

Penn State is the hottest team in America right now. The Nittany Lions received a difficult draw in the Midwest region, facing Texas A&M in the first round and possibly Texas in the Round of 32. Even so, this team is playing its best basketball at the right time. With a few clutch shots late in the game, Penn State could easily find itself playing on the second weekend of the tournament.

Matt Brown: Sweet Sixteen

After an amazing Big Ten Tournament run, the Nittany Lions will attempt to win their first NCAA Tournament game since 2001. This team has what it takes to make a deep run in the tournament and proved it by going the distance against Purdue.

They did, however, get a very tough draw for the first two rounds with their first opponent being a very under-seeded Texas A&M Aggies team, and a win likely puts them in a matchup against the Big 12 champion Texas Longhorns. While it’s not going to be easy, I see them winning both games and advancing to the Sweet Sixteen. However, I see the Cinderella run ending in a close loss to Xavier.

Tobey Prime: Round Of 32

This Penn State team is hot, which is exactly what you want to be heading into the Big Dance. Unfortunately, so is Texas A&M. However, something deep in my soul is pulling for the Nittany Lions to pull the upset.

Afterward, a contest against, most likely, Texas is going to be too much to handle for the Nittany Lions. Regardless, stealing one game in the big dance is such a huge accomplishment for this program, so even with the early exit, it’s still an impressive feat.

Joe Lister: Elite Eight

Would I have chosen Penn State to reach the Elite Eight had it not performed as it did against Purdue? Absolutely not. However, the Nittany Lions took a No. 1 seed to the final possession, and they can certainly do so against a No. 2 seed. As good as Texas is this year, I’m riding high on Penn State’s hot streak. A brief Cinderella run is absolutely possible.

Sam Fremin: Round Of 32

Given the Nittany Lions’ season of performances, I have every reason to be pessimistic. But given Shrewsberry’s squad’s performances as of late, it would not be surprising to me if Penn State finished the first round victorious.

If the Nittany Lions continue their recent string of overachieving, they will still wind up likely squaring off with No. 2-seeded Texas. The return to March Madness will be a lot of fun for Happy Valley, but the runway was never going to be incredibly long.

Owen Abbey: Round Of 32

Penn State is the hottest team in college basketball. It deserves a lot of credit for getting to the tournament and for nearly winning a Big Ten title. That said, it got screwed when it comes to its seeding.

Texas A&M is a ridiculously tough matchup for an opening-round game. People can argue the Aggies deserve to be a No. 5 seed! That game is going to be a dogfight, and while I expect the Nittany Lions to come out on top, they will have to fight for it.

If they win, they would more than likely play No. 2-seeded Texas, and that’s where the run ends. Texas is my choice to win it all this year, and while Penn State has the ability to win, I think the Longhorns are the more complete team. March is for miracles, however, and the last time Penn State was a No. 10 seed, it upset UNC in the Round of 32. I truly hope history repeats itself.

Keeley Lamm: Round Of 32

Penn State has plenty left to prove in the Big Dance, and I believe it can slip away with a win against Texas A&M. Jalen Pickett has rarely let Nittany Lion fans down, so there’s no reason to believe he can’t manufacture a first-round tournament win. This team is too hot and too juiced to make an opening-weekend exit.

Connor Krause: Round Of 32

Micah Shrewsberry’s group is as hot as anybody in the Power Six ranks, except for Texas, which will likely hang in the balance for the Nittany Lions’ second-round bout. 

The Longhorns have won six of their last eight, including a pair of victories over first-seeded Kansas. One of Texas’ falters, which came to No. 22 TCU on March 1, was avenged by Rodney Terry’s unit in the Big 12 Tournament Semifinals last Friday. 

Texas boasts two All-Big 12 guards in former Big Ten commodity Marcus Carr and Sir’Jabari Rice, who account for over 28 points per game offensively. While I think the Nittany Lions have enough firepower to shoot their way past the No. 2-seeded Longhorns, the Longhorns are simply too talented on both ends. 

Adam Babetski: Champions

The Nittany Lions are winning the whole thing. That’s right folks, let’s get nuts. It might sound ridiculous, but Penn State is feeling dangerous this March. This is a team that everyone left for dead following a brutal Rutgers loss, but it was within a single shot of winning the Big Ten. I don’t even watch basketball, but I was feeling the vibes. I usually pick, like, Wofford or something to win my bracket, so at least this year I’ll finally have a slightly justifiable choice. Your money isn’t safe, Warren Buffet.

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