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Staff Predictions: No. 10 Penn State Hoops vs. No. 7 Texas A&M

We sleep in May.

For the first time in 12 years, Penn State is competing in the NCAA Tournament. Penn State will face off against No. 7-seeded Texas A&M at 9:55 p.m. ET tonight at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa.

As the No. 10 seed in the Midwest Region, Penn State is a slight underdog heading into this match. However, our staffers predict the Nittany Lions will steal a win from the Aggies in one of the most anticipated matchups of the first round and one of the biggest games in Penn State hoops history.

Aidan Conrad: Penn State 72, Texas A&M 67

This is March.

Every NCAA Tournament needs a Cinderella to fit the slipper. Although I predicted a first-weekend exit due to the Nittany Lions’ unpredictability, they possess the traits of a Cinderella team. The Aggies will keep it close all game, but the Nittany Lions will pull away in the end due to Micah Shrewsberry having more plays than Broadway.

Brady Miller: Penn State 74, Texas A&M 67

When the Nittany Lions are hitting their shots, they dominate! However, when the shots aren’t falling, the team tends to struggle.

Penn State was dealt arguably one of the best No. 7 seeds of all time in the Aggies, but the Nittany Lions come into this tournament as one of the hottest teams in America.

After the beatdown Texas A&M was handed by Alabama on Sunday in the SEC Championship game, I do not see the sense of urgency there. I expect All-American Jalen Pickett to be gritty like he has been all season long and help carry the Nittany Lions into the Round of 32.

Brendan Wagner: Penn State 68, Texas A&M 62

Penn State will make itself known in this game as one of the best three-point shooting teams in the nation. Expect Funk, Lundy, and Dread to pour it in from behind the arc.

CJ Doebler: Penn State 69, Texas A&M 65

Penn State’s first-round matchup will be a close game that will end up coming down to free throws. Penn State hasn’t played in a game that was decided by more than four points since February 18, and I think that trend will continue through the first round.

Pickett and Co. will once again need to get hot from the three-point line and put together their best offensive-rebounding performance of the year if they want to advance to the second round.

My college decision came down to Penn State and Texas A&M, and even though I made the right decision by coming to Penn State, I’d like to see the Aggies get what they deserve for being stingy with scholarship money.

Joe Lister: Penn State 68, Texas A&M 62

Penn State is hot right now, but that doesn’t mean it can run away with this one. The Aggies are a good squad, and the Nittany Lions have embraced it.

This game, as with Penn State’s games in the Big Ten Tournament, will go to the final possessions. All the same, Micah Shrewsberry’s squad is good enough to pull it off.

Keeley Lamm: Penn State 73, Texas A&M 68

In Camren Wynter, I trust.

Despite a fumbled play in the dwindling seconds of action against Purdue in the Big Ten Tournament Championship, I want Wynter on the buzzer-beater. I imagine that after a back-and-forth game, a scrappy Kanye Clary will execute a steal on the Aggies’ final play and set up Wynter for a statement three to close to the game.

Penn State loves taking it to the absolute end, and I don’t think this outing will be any different. However, the Nittany Lions will walk away with a two-possession win en route to the Round of 32.

Mikey DeAngelis: Penn State 79, Texas A&M 75

There’s a lot of buzz going around this Penn State team right now, but I also think Texas A&M is very underrated, too. This game could go either way, but I’ll give the edge to the Nittany Lions, who are hot right now. I believe. 

Nolan Wick: Penn State 73, Texas A&M 72

This game is a coin flip, but I’m going to get straight to the point and predict that the Nittany Lions will win.

Why? Penn State is hotter and grittier than Texas A&M. The Aggies didn’t look good against Alabama in the SEC Championship game, while the Nittany Lions took Purdue to the brink in the Big Ten Championship game. This Penn State team just doesn’t quit under Micah Shrewsberry, and that tends to serve teams well in March.

You wanted March basketball? Buckle up, everyone, and prepare to witness a quintessential March Madness game that goes back and forth, with Penn State hitting a game-winning shot at the buzzer in typical “gritty, not pretty” fashion.

Tobey Prime: Penn State 77, Texas A&M 74

This game is going to be close. Although, Penn State’s last six games have been decided by four or fewer points, so saying that isn’t really a hot take. I believe Texas A&M will jump out to an early lead and hold onto it until the second half.

Like games of recent memory, the Nittany Lions will crawl their way back into the game. My bold prediction is an Evan Mahaffey block that leads to an Andrew Funk three-pointer at the buzzer. I don’t know what basis this prediction is coming from, but I feel like Mahaffey will come up big again and Funk will finally get a buzzer-beater to fall.

Gabe Angieri: Penn State 71, Texas A&M 69


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