Texas vs Penn State Odds, Picks, Predictions | How to Bet Round of 32 Game

Texas vs Penn State Odds, Picks, Predictions | How to Bet Round of 32 Game article feature image

Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images. Pictured: Penn State Nittany Lion Jalen Pickett.

Texas vs Penn State Odds

Saturday, March 18
7:45 p.m. ET
Texas Odds
-110o / -110u
Penn State Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

DES MOINES, Iowa — After a blistering shooting performance in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, Penn State looks to pull off another upset — this time, against Texas.

Penn State shot the ball incredibly well in their first-round game against Texas A&M, but now they're facing an even better defense in the Longhorns, who are coming off a fantastic performance against one of the best mid-major shooting teams in the country.

The Longhorns shut down Colgate in the first round, holding them to just 61 points. Sir'Jabari Rice was hot from beyond the arc, which helped Texas pull away in the end and cover the spread. Penn State, however, will be a much more difficult challenge for the Longhorns in the second round.

Texas Longhorns

Texas put in a great offensive performance in the first round largely due to Rice, who caught fire to help lead Texas to a 13-for-23 night from long range.

Image via KenPom

Texas isn't usually a high-volume 3-point shooting team. The Longhorns are 253rd in 3-point rate and are only hitting at a 34.6% clip on the season, which is around the NCAA average.

Normally, Texas' shot distribution is heavily oriented toward shots at the rim and in the midrange. That is where Texas has attempted 60% of its shots.

The Longhorns have been shooting well from the midrange — boasting a 43% shooting percentage from that area. Texas also ranks in the top 40 in Points Per Possession (PPP) on shot attempts at the rim.

Texas' defense does two things really well. The Longhorns turn opponents over at a top-20 rate and defend the rim at an incredibly high level, allowing 1.11 PPP, which is 17th.

The problem is that isn't going to matter in this game because Penn State hardly turns the ball over and only 25% of its shots are at the rim, which is the second-lowest frequency.

Texas has been above average defending the 3, but have struggled defending catch-and-shoot 3-pointers (210th in PPP allowed). Penn State takes the fifth-most catch-and-shoot 3, per ShotQuality.

Penn State Nittany Lions

Penn State shot the lights out from distance against Texas A&M, going 13-for-22. That's been Penn State's calling card, as the Nittany Lions have the 10th-highest 3-point rate. They're hitting 39% of their 3-point shots, which makes them one of the most dangerous jump-shooting teams.

Penn State is also incredibly good at taking care of the ball, with the seventh-lowest turnover rate. But what's weird about the Penn State offense is that its 361st in offensive rebounding percentage — that means the Nittany Lions are completely reliant on jump shooting for offensive success.

On defense, Penn State's most impressive feat is how well it prevents teams from getting to the rim. The Nittany Lions only allow 25% of their opponents' field goals at the rim, which is the best mark in the country. That's resulted in a lot of teams settling for mid-range jumpers, which they've been decent defending (36% FG). Texas is one of the highest-frequency mid-range teams, so Penn State should be able to defend it.

The Nittany Lions have one of the lowest forced turnover rates. This is by design — it allows them to not take chances, force teams into bad shots and defend both the rim and 3-point line at an elite level.

Image via ShotQuality
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Texas vs Penn State Betting Pick

This is pretty good matchup for Penn State against a Texas team that's been running hot. The athleticism Penn State possesses will be a big upgrade to what Texas saw against Colgate.

The Longhorns got incredibly hot from deep against the Raiders, but that was more of an anomaly than a regular occurrence. Texas is more equipped to score in the midrange and at the rim, which Penn State has been elite at defending.

Additionally, Penn State is an elite jump-shooting team. I am not sure the Longhorns are going to be able to defend at a high level or keep up if they don't replicate their shooting from the first round.

I like the value on the Nittany Lions at +5.5 (bet365) and would play it down to +4.5.

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Sean Treppedi
Jul 17, 2024 UTC