Mar 16, 2023; Des Moines, IA, USA; Texas Longhorns guard Sir'Jabari Rice (10) shoots the ball against the Colgate Raiders during the second half at Wells Fargo Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
It was not the prettiest of performances, but Texas did what they needed to do in order to eliminate Colgate in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament, 81-61. The Longhorns will now face Penn State on Saturday evening with a spot in the Sweet 16 on the line.
Takeaways from the win
- Texas held the top 3-point shooting team in the country to 3 of 15 from beyond the arc. The Longhorns seemed content with allowing Colgate to operate in the paint in exchange for not allowing open looks from the outside. The strategy paid off.
- On the offensive end, Texas was red-hot from deep. The Longhorns shot 56.5% from 3, including 7 makes from Sir'Jabari Rice.
- Rice finished the game with 23 points and 6 rebounds. The New Mexico State transfer played a big role in the Aggies NCAA Tournament success last year on both ends of the floor and picked up where he left off.
- The only thing that slowed Dylan Disu down was foul trouble. Disu registered a double-double (17 points, 10 rebounds) in only 21 minutes of action. He sure has picked a good time to take his game to another level the last 2 weeks.
- Timmy Allen scored 4 points and dished out 5 assists in his first game back from a calf injury. He only played 21 minutes despite no foul trouble so it appears Rodney Terry is going to slowly ease him back into action.
- Turnovers were biggest negative for Texas coming out of this game. The Longhorns turned the ball over 13 times, including 5 turnovers from Marcus Carr. Carr struggled in transition, throwing the ball away several times when Texas had a chance to go on a run and put the game away early in the second half.
Looking ahead to Penn State
Heading into March, it appeared Penn State would be NIT bound. But the Nittany Lions ripped off a 8-2 stretch to end the season and sneak their way into the NCAA Tournament. Similar to Colgate, Penn State loves to shoot the 3 and is quite good at it (38.5% as a team). Guard Jalen Pickett is the straw that stirs the drink. Pickett is averaging 17.9 points, 7.3 rebounds and 6.7 assists. Fellow guard Andrew Funk, a transfer from Bucknell, shoots 42% from 3 and drilled 8 of 10 in the opening round win over Texas A&M.
Penn State does tend to struggle on the defensive end against better competition. The Nittany Lions rank 225th in defensive efficiency and 196th in opponents field goal %.
This is a dangerous squad playing their best basketball of the season at the right time. The Longhorns will have to have another outstanding game on the defensive end of the floor and find a way to not let Pickett beat them.
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