Perspective on No. 2 Texas’ huge win over No. 10 Penn State
The Texas Longhorns advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2008. On the surface, Texas defeated a bad basketball program historically and a mere No. 10 seed. In reality, the win gives the program a monumental boost in perception and internal confidence.
The Penn State Nittany Lions entered the game as one of the better three-point shooting teams in the country. The team shot especially well against the Texas A&M Aggies two days earlier. Thanks to some luck and what was at times an excellent defensive performance by the Longhorns, Penn State went cold from the three-point line.
On average, Penn State connected on just over 10 three-point baskets per game. Against Texas, the Nittany Lions made just 8 of 28 from long range. Albeit, the Longhorns shot a much worse 1-for-13 from behind the arc.
Let’s look at what Texas accomplished by pulling out an improbable win.
Rodney Terry slams the door shut
I’m so proud of our team for being resilient, committed to @RodneyTerry We are headed to the @TexasMBB #Sweet16 pic.twitter.com/SvaIpLn3u9
— TJ Ford (@tj_ford) March 19, 2023
The common fan isn’t the decision maker for Texas basketball, but popular opinion favors Texas head coach Rodney Terry after reaching the school’s first Sweet 16 in nearly 15 years. Chris Beard never made the Sweet 16 at Texas and Shaka Smart never won an NCAA Tournament game. What Terry did was particularly impressive in light of what it took to win.
Losing the lead, taking it back
58-55 Penn State 4:42 | Texas has surrendered a 10-0 run and the lead in the past several minutes. Longhorns are 1-of-13 from three. Texas uses a timeout. https://t.co/xZX5hwE9rX
— Inside Texas (@InsideTexas) March 19, 2023
Much has been made of the potential hire of Billy Donovan. Based on how the team battled back from losing a sizable lead and trailing, perhaps those discussions should be over. Frankly, I’m not sure any coach could have done a more impressive job than Terry did after falling behind 58-55. Great coaches find a way to get it done in March. Rodney Terry just won you that game.
See y’all in the 16. Gameball goes to Dylan Disu, looked like a young Lamarcus Aldridge out there. Let’s get it @TexasMBB
— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) March 19, 2023
We’ve talked about the Longhorns ability to score in a myriad of ways. That was particularly true on Saturday night as the team needed to score in ways other than three-point shooting. Dylan Disu went off and carried the struggling offense to the next round.
Terry shows his situational awareness
-Terry did a great job of not overly complicating things down the stretch. After the timeout to calm Texas down, he gave the ball to his best player and let him carry the team home.
-SEC looking STRONG and B1G looking awful (I know, Penn St/A&M notwithstanding)
— Billy Liucci (@billyliucci) March 19, 2023
Keep it simple, stupid. How many times have we seen Texas coaches miss obvious stylistic changes that the game demands? Rodney Terry made good decision after good decision and it added up to a Texas win.
Not many teams can win a NCAA tournament game when making only one three-pointer. Testament to the ability for Texas to adapt and win in multiple ways. Tonight it was about defense and Dylan Disu. #HookEm
— HornSports (@HornSports) March 19, 2023
No. 1 seeds Purdue and Kansas and No. 2 Arizona are eliminated from the NCAA Tournament. Texas is still alive. Make what you will of the struggles the team had against Penn State. The Longhorns are moving on to the Sweet 16.