Best college basketball bets NCAA Tournament Round of 64: Texas A&M vs. Penn State prediction, pick, odds

The NCAA March Madness Tournament is finally here, and the event gets underway with a jam-packed 16-game slate on Thursday! 

There are quite a few intriguing matchups on the docket, but nothing sticks out as much as No. 7 Texas A&M taking on No. 10 Penn State. Each team suffered losses in their respective conference championships last weekend, but all that matters is their names were announced on Selection Sunday and they’re going dancing.

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Let’s dive deeper into this SEC/Big Ten crossover and get the best bet locked in!

Texas A&M vs. Penn State Start Time and Where to Watch

  • Date: March 16, 2023
  • Start Time: 9:55 p.m. ET
  • Where to Watch: TBS

Texas A&M vs. Penn State Odds

  • Spread: TAMU -2.5 (-108) | PSU +2.5 (-105)
  • Total Odds: 135.0 (O-108, U -105)
  • Moneyline: TAMU -145 | PSU +140

Texas A&M vs. Penn State Injury Report

Texas A&M 

Out:
F Ethan Henderson (Personal)

Penn State 

Out:
F Caleb Dorsey (Undisclosed)

Texas A&M Aggies vs. Penn State Nittany Lions Prediction

The Texas A&M Aggies put together a great run to close out the year, winning four straight games before losing the SEC Championship game to Alabama in an 82-63 affair. It was still an excellent season for Buzz William’s squad as they finished 25-9 with a 15-3 conference record.

The Aggies were efficient on both ends of the floor, but what stood out most was their efforts offensively. Texas A&M boasted the 30th-best team in terms of adjusted offensive efficiency, scoring 114.5 points per 100 possessions. As for the baseline stats, they’re scoring 73.2 points per game and shooting 43.5% from the field as a team. 

Individually, the SEC runner-ups turned to Wade Taylor IV to handle a significant amount of the workload. The sophomore guard led the way in scoring (16.5 PPG), assists (4.0 APG), and steals (1.8 SPG). Down low, the Aggies turned to Henry Coleman III, who averaged 9.2 points per contest and paved the way on the glass (5.7 RPG). 

The skilled backcourt of Taylor IV and Tyrece Radford (13.2 PPG) presents an interesting matchup for Penn State, which has a stable of three senior guards. The Nittany Lions (22-13, 10-10 CONF) have turned to Jalen Pickett (17.9 PPG), Seth Lundy (14.4 PPG), and Andrew Funk (12.1 PPG) to handle the bulk of the scoring this year. Pickett’s a true star, also leading the way for Penn State in rebounds (7.3), assists (6.7 APG), and steals (1.0 SPG). 

The offense as a whole comes into the tournament at 17th offensively, averaging 116.8 points per 100 possessions. In terms of the basic metrics, they’re scoring 72.3 points per contest while shooting 46.4% from the field.

On the defensive end is where Penn State has run into some issues. They come in at 99th in the country in terms of efficiency numbers, giving up 101.7 points per 100 possessions. As for defensive shooting, the Nittany Lions are 113th, letting opponents hit 43.0% of their shots from the field. 

Penn State has been a popular pick leading up to the tournament, gaining a lot of steam on both the spread (+2.5) and the moneyline (+140) as an outright upset. I can see where the betting public is buying in considering the Nittany Lions’ experienced guard play combined with their recent run to the Big Ten Championship game. 

However, I’m going against the grain here and riding with Texas A&M to cover the spread. While they boast an excellent offense, they’ve been equally as dominant on the defensive side of the floor. The Aggies have held their opponents to a 40.5% field goal percentage this year, which translates to the 18th-best mark in the country. 

Penn State, on the other hand, is very reliant on its offense – especially the three-point shot (13th, 38.5%). Considering the Nittany Lions are in a foreign gym and taking on a top defensive team, I expect their offensive output to take a step back tonight. 

All things considered, I feel confident that the Aggies’ offense can stretch this lead out to at least two possessions against a mediocre Big Ten club. Let’s lay the points with Texas A&M tonight.

Texas A&M Aggies vs. Penn State Nittany Lions Pick

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