Penn State basketball is still standing, and now Texas is in the way.
The 10th-seeded squad takes on second-seeded Texas for a chance to go to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2001.
Here are five things to know before Penn State-Texas.
It’s been 22 years since Penn State last played in a Round of 32 game, and it does so facing circumstances similar to what Penn State faces tonight. In 2001, Penn State entered the second round after winning a 7-10 matchup. It’s the same case this time around. In 2001, Penn State faced second-seeded North Carolina in the second round. Now, it faces second-seeded Texas.
Penn State beat North Carolina back then. What will happen Saturday night?
The story of Penn State’s NCAA Tournament has been Andrew Funk.
The fifth-year senior who transferred from Bucknell went insane Thursday night. He torched Texas A&M for 27 points and made 8 of 10 3-pointers.
He also blew up Twitter, and his phone has blown up with texts from well-wishers.
As one could imagine, the experience has been fantastic for Funk.
“It was really cool,” Funk said at Penn State’s media availability Friday. “I have a great support system. Friends, I have a bunch of family here who have been here along with me for a lot of ups and, more so, a lot of downs. To have them be able to experience that with me was really good. So, I’m just very grateful to have a support system like that.”
‘A Potential Final Four Team’
Texas has been good all season and is playing stellar basketball right now. The team has overcome coach Chirs Beard’s particularly ugly dismissal and sits at 27-8 with a Big 12 Tournament championship.
Over the past seven games, Texas has held Iowa State, TCU, Oklahoma State and Kansas twice to 60 points or fewer. Keeping the Cyclones in the 50s is one thing, but the Jayhawks have averaged 75.6 points per game, and they couldn’t break 60 either against a tenacious Texas defense.
Oh, and Texas beat Kansas, now a No. 1 seed, by 20 in the Big 12 title game and beat 15th-seeded Colgate by the same margin this past Thursday in the first round.
Penn State knows the task at hand.
“I’ve been saying all year that Texas is a potential Final Four team, and I think the same way about us,” Mikey Henn said Friday. “So to have a matchup like this in the second round is really intriguing. We’ve got a lot of good guards on both sides and a lot of good basketball players on both sides with good coaching, so it’s going to be a good matchup.”
AN “ELITE” MATCHUP
College basketball analyst Andy Katz is high on Penn State, and before the tournament, he picked the team to beat Texas and ultimately end up in the Elite 8. The odds of Penn State or any double-digit seed getting to the Elite 8 are slim. But regardless of whether Penn State beats Texas, Katz feels this is an Elite 8-level matchup.
Katz has Texas as No. 4 in his power rankings and Penn State as No. 5.
Based on that, it should be a good ballgame regardless of what happens.
HOW TO WATCH
Penn State-Texas is scheduled to tip off at 7:45 ET on CBS. Texas comes in as a 5.5-point favorite, according to Fandual Sportsbook. Here’s more information on how to watch and listen to the game.
TV Announcers: Brian Anderson (PXP), Jim Jackson (color), Allie LaForce (sideline)
Radio: Penn State Sports Network
Radio Announcers: Steve Jones (PXP) Dick Jerardi (color)
National Radio: Westwood One
National Radio Announcers: Jason Benetti (PXP) Robbie Hummel (Color)
SiriusXM: Channel 136