Staff Predictions: No. 10 Penn State vs. No. 2 Texas

Penn State is still dancing.

The Nittany Lions defeated Texas A&M 76-59 in a statement win Thursday night. Now, Micah Shrewsberry’s squad has a date with the No. 2-seeded Texas Longhorns at 7:45 p.m. ET tonight at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa.

Texas comes into the game following an 81-61 win over Colgate on Thursday and is favored to advance once again. Our staffers have mixed feeling about whether Penn State will continue its Cinderella run.

Joe Lister: Penn State 67, Texas 58

If there’s anything that beating the second-best team in the SEC showed Penn State fans, it’s that the Nittany Lions can hoop.

Sure, Texas is ranked No. 5 in the nation by the Associated Press. Sure, Penn State is a No. 10 seed.

But this team simply has that dawg in ’em. There’s nothing else that this team needs. Andrew Funk will put together a shooting masterclass, and Jalen Pickett will continue to drop double-doubles. Let’s ride.

CJ Doebler: Penn State 73, Texas 72

Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but I believe there’s real potential for an upset on Saturday night.

It’s no secret that Penn State lives and dies by the three ball, but lately, the hoop has looked four feet wide for most of Penn State’s guards. It’s going to be close, but the Nittany Lions are going to pull this one out. Horns down.

Aidan Conrad: Penn State 74, Texas 71

The Nittany Lions are five-point underdogs heading into Saturday night’s matchup against No. 2-seeded Texas. I know something that Vegas doesn’t know, though. Penn State is a team of destiny, and Andrew Funk is a wrecking ball that will destroy anything in the way. Horns down.

Brady Miller: Texas 76, Penn State 72

This one hurts.

After watching Penn State destroy Texas A&M, I really believe the Nittany Lions can win this one. If Andrew Funk shoots the ball the way he did on Thursday night, this team is very dangerous.

However, I’m sticking to my bracket. I have seen Texas play multiple times this season and watched the beatdown the Longhorns handed to the reigning National Champion Kansas Jayhawks. I still believe Texas is just a better team.

I think the presence of Timmy Allen and Dylan Disu will be too much for the Penn State defense to handle. But if the Nittany Lions light it up from the three, anything can happen.

Matt Brown: Penn State 76, Texas 71

I had my doubts that Penn State would continue its hot streak against a very under-seeded Texas A&M team, but the Nittany Lions proved me and the rest of Happy Valley wrong.

Don’t get me wrong, though. This Longhorns squad is legit, but I think Penn State has what it takes to pull off the upset and continue the Cinderella run. I think it will be a close game with both teams going back and forth, trading leads until the final minute when Camren Wynter hits a huge three-pointer that seals the win for the Nittany Lions.

Tobey Prime: Texas 78, Penn State 69

I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer, but I think Penn State’s run comes to an end on Saturday night against Texas. The Longhorns are a No. 2 seed for a reason with one of the best guards in the country in Marcus Carr. Rodney Terry’s squad also plays better defense and has the players to keep up with the Nittany Lions’ three-point attack.

That doesn’t mean Penn State is completely out of it, though. It’s still one of the hottest teams left in the tournament. Also, the Nittany Lions still haven’t shown me that they are scared of anyone, and they certainly have shown me that they will battle until the very last second.

With that being said, this game will be competitive, but Texas just has more punch than Penn State. Penn State will probably make a late-game run, but ultimately, the Nittany Lions’ dancing shoes will have to live to see another tournament.

Keeley Lamm: Texas 80, Penn State 67

As incredible as this run has been, I think it’ll come to an end on Saturday night in Des Moines.

Texas steamrolled Colgate by 20 points, and while I think Penn State is a much higher-caliber program than the Raiders, I expect the Nittany Lions to be overwhelmed by the pace and precision of the Longhorns. I believe the Penn State backcourt will give up an early lead and struggle to cut into the deficit throughout the remainder of the game.

Nolan Wick: Penn State 72, Texas 71

Texas is no joke. Despite losing their head coach in the middle of the season, the Longhorns are still playing like one of the best teams in America and are fully capable of dismantling the Nittany Lions.

But this is March.

And in March, anything can happen. If I were Texas, or any other team for that matter, I wouldn’t want to see these Nittany Lions right now. As the underdog, Penn State is playing with house money and looks as confident as any team that’s still dancing. Therefore, I’m changing my mind and predicting Penn State to narrowly upset Texas to shock the nation.

Gabe Angieri: Texas 79, Penn State 69

All good things must come to an end.

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