March Madness is full steam ahead, with the Penn State Nittany Lions (22-13) squaring off with the (#17) Texas A&M Aggies (25-9) in the Round of 64 on Thursday. Penn State was a bubble team entering the Big Ten Tournament last week but made it all the way to the title game to secure a spot in this year’s March Madness. They rallied late against Purdue and had a chance to win it in the final seconds before falling 67-65.
Meanwhile, Texas A&M also made it to their conference’s championship game, losing to top-seeded Alabama 82-63. The Aggies were downed by poor shot-making, finishing 19-of-64 from the line.
Penn State vs. Texas A&M Betting Odds
|Penn State Nittany Lions||+3.5||o134.5||+135|
|Texas A&M Aggies||-3.5||u134.5||-165|
Odds are courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook
Penn State vs. Texas A&M Match Details
Fixture: Penn State vs. Texas A&M (Neutral)
Date and Time: Thursday, March 16, 2023, at 9:55 p.m. ET
Venue: Wells Fargo Arena
ShotQuality Tale of the Tape
Below, we will highlight essential ShotQuality data for this matchup, including Adjusted Offensive and Defensive SQ, strengths, weaknesses, and frequency. SQppp is a player’s average ShotQuality points per possession.
Thus, SQppp = Total SQpoints/Total No. of Possessions.
The Texas A&M Aggies own a 1.19 AdjOFF SQ this season, good for 5th in the nation. Penn State has the 49th-best AdjDEF SQ at 0.96. Texas A&M does well in all key stats, but spacing and shot-making, where they are in the 31st percentile. Conversely, the Nittany Lions are in the 74th percentile or worse in defensive spacing and shot-making but will have a slight edge in the defensive open three rate metric.
The Aggies own high-frequency numbers in cut, finishing at the rim, isolation, off-screen, P&R ball screen, and transition shot types. They are in the top 150 in all those shot types except P&R and off-screen, with a 0.99 or worse SQ PPP (195th or worse in the country). Conversely, the Nittany Lions are in the top 120 in all those categories, excelling in the P&R and off-screen, a massive disadvantage for A&M.
The Nittany Lions have a 1.08 AdjOFF SQ, the 81st-best mark in the country. Texas A&M has posted a 0.97 AdjDEF SQ this season, clocking in at 66th in the country. The Nittany Lions are in the 99th percentile or better in spacing and shot-making. The Aggies are in the 57th percentile in defensive spacing and the 99th percentile in defensive shot-making.
Penn State is in the country’s top half in frequency regarding the following shot types: catch-and-shoot three-pointers, half-court, isolation, midrange, off-screen, P&R, and post-up. Conversely, Texas A&M holds no advantage in defending the Penn State shot types except isolation, while the Nittany Lions should find clean shots on the perimeter, off-screen, and midrange.
Penn State vs. Texas A&M Prediction
The Penn State Nittany Lions have the edge in most high-frequency shot types and offensive shot-making and spacing. Both teams exceeded preseason hype, making their conference tourney championship but falling to the one-seed. I’m intrigued by both. However, it is a shame that they match up in the first round.
I’ll take the Nittany Lions with the points in a game that PSU has the analytical advantage.