March Madness preview: Texas A&M vs. Penn State

The Midwest Region caps off an exciting opening day of March Madness as No. 7 Texas A&M (25-9) goes head-to-head with No. 10 Penn State (22-13) from Des Moines. After these two programs finished as the runner-ups in their respective conferences, both are looking to rebound and make a deep run through March.

The Nittany Lions were the definition of a “bubble team” when they entered the Big Ten tournament, but they flipped the script en route to an appearance in the title game, only to fall to Purdue 67-65. The Lions overcame a 17-point second-half deficit against Purdue, but Zach Edey’s 30 points and 15 rebounds helped the Boilermakers hold on.

Still, Penn State’s ability to give Purdue a run for its money makes them a dangerous foe heading into the NCAA Tournament. The Lions have now won eight of their last 10 games coming into the opening round, and they’ve proven to be exceptionally lethal from beyond the arc. As a team, they are shooting 38.5% from deep, which ranks ninth in the country.

They may be undersized, but they have a dangerous trio of double-digit scorers in Jalen Pickett (17.9 PPG), Seth Lundy (14.4 PPG), and Andrew Funk (12.1 PPG).

The Aggies are motivated to bounce back from a snoozefest SEC title game in which they fell to top-seeded Alabama 82-63, a loss in which the Maroon and White shot just 29.7% from the field. Leading scorer Wade Taylor IV (16.5 PPG0 went just 3-for-11 from the floor, which feels like a thorough bounce-back performance is in the cards.

Texas A&M enters the tournament on a hot streak themselves, having won 10 of their last 12 games with victories against quality competition. The Aggies boast an 8-4 against tournament teams this year, which includes a home victory against the aforementioned Crimson Tide.

While the Nittany Lions have the clear advantage in shooting from three, the Aggies will have the opportunity to flex their size in the paint, with a frontcourt of Henry Coleman III (9.2 PPG, 5.7 RPG) and Julius Marble (9.2 PPG, 4.2 RPG) leading the way.

Texas A&M vs. Penn State is slated for Thursday, March 16th at 8:55 PM CT and will air on TBS. Buckle up Aggies faithful, we’re going dancing.

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Story originally appeared on Aggies Wire