NCAA March Madness: Texas A&M vs. Penn State betting preview, odds and predictions
In the 7 vs. 10 matchup in the Midwest region of the 2023 NCAA tournament, Texas A&M faces Penn State with a spot in the Round of 32 on the line. All tournament long, VSiN will be providing you with March Madness betting odds, in-depth team analysis and expert college basketball picks. Make us your one-stop shop for all of your betting needs.
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How to watch Texas A&M vs. Penn State
When: Thursday, 9:55 p.m. ET
Where: Des Moines, Iowa
Odds for Texas A&M vs. Penn State
Spread: Texas A&M -3
(Odds accurate as of Sunday, March 12th at 11:00 p.m. ET)
Real-time betting splits at DraftKings Sportsbook
Midwest Region No. 7 Seed Texas A&M
The Aggies were just 7-5 after 12 games this season, as the team had trouble navigating its non-conference schedule. However, Buzz Williams got his team going and Texas A&M now looks the part of an actual championship contender. Not many teams can say they beat the Alabama Crimson Tide this year, but the Aggies certainly can. This team is very good on both ends of the floor and guard Wade Taylor IV has turned into a legitimate star in his sophomore season. He’s a guy that can go for 25 on any given night, and he’ll surely strike fear in his opponents over the next couple of weeks.
Midwest Region No. 10 Seed Penn State
Good guard play is something that goes a long way in March Madness, so Penn State is going to feel like an extended run is imminent. This team is extremely deep at the position, with five guards that average at least 20.0 minutes for the Nittany Lions. Jalen Pickett is the one to remember, as he is a guy that can really fill up the stat sheet. Pickett is also a tremendous three-point shooter, and the former Siena Saints star is capable of having some big moments in this tournament — he certainly did in the Big Ten tourney. The Nittany Lions just need to clean things up defensively. They’re tremendous offensively, but the defense was an issue all year long.
Texas A&M vs. Penn State matchup analysis
This seems to be one of the more polarizing first-round games, as you have a lot of support for both teams in the betting markets here. Penn State has the great equalizer and that is a top-10 3P% at 38.5%. The Nittany Lions take a 3 on over 47% of shot attempts and make a lot of them. It makes up for how they get to the rim at one of the lowest rates in the nation.
Conversely, Texas A&M gets to the rim at a high rate, but they don’t shoot a whole lot of 3s. Penn State has the chance to score by 3, Texas A&M largely scores by 2, and because 3 is greater than 2, there are a lot of people out there that like the Nittany Lions’ chances to pull the mild upset.
That isn’t the only difference between these two teams. Texas A&M ranks 40th in the nation in TO% on defense at 21.1%. Penn State ranks 362nd out of 363 teams in TO% at 13.1% but also had the fifth-best TO% on offense. Most teams in the Big Ten are not very aggressive defensively and don’t force a lot of turnovers, but Penn State is also a senior-laden team that takes care of the ball.
Because of Texas A&M’s propensity for getting to the rim and Penn State’s propensity for doing anything but that, the two teams are complete opposites in free throw rate. The Aggies are second in the nation in FT Rate and Penn State is 361st. How the officials call this game in Des Moines will have a big impact on how it ends up.
Texas A&M was punished for a weak nonconference schedule and some ugly losses because SEC play began, but Bart Torvik has the Aggies as the sixth-best team in the country since the calendar flipped to 2023, trailing only Gonzaga, Tennessee, UCLA, Houston and Alabama. Penn State is 47th in that span.
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