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Jalen Pickett and Myles Dread of the Penn State Nittany Lions as we look at our top Penn State vs. Texas prediction
Jalen Pickett and Myles Dread of the Penn State Nittany Lions celebrate after a play during the second half against the Texas A&M Aggies in the first round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Wells Fargo Arena on March 16, 2023 in Des Moines, Iowa. Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images via AFP.

The second-seeded Texas Longhorns and 10th-seeded Penn State Nittany Lions will face off in the Round of 32 on Saturday. Read on for our Penn State vs. Texas prediction based on the top NCAAB odds.

Two of the hottest teams in college basketball will meet in Des Moines for Saturday’s second-round matchup. Texas, which is coming off a Big 12 tournament title and a 20-point shellacking of Colgate in the opening round, has national title aspirations with interim head coach Rodney Terry at the helm. 

Standing in UT’s way are the Nittany Lions, who blasted Texas A&M for a 76-59 win in the opening round after a runner-up finish in the Big Ten tournament. With All-American guard Jalen Pickett leading the way, Penn State has a chance to be this year’s March Madness Cinderella team. 

Here is our best Penn State vs. Texas prediction (odds via DraftKings Sportsbook; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

Penn State vs. Texas odds

Penn State vs. Texas prediction

Penn State +5.5 (-110 via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐

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Normally, bettors might have to pay a tax for a hot team in March with the spread adjusted by a point or two. But since Penn State and Texas are both playing well, this number is actually right in line with my projection.

I’m backing the Nittany Lions because they figure to be a tough matchup for the Longhorns. According to ShotQuality, Penn State ranks third in spacing on offense and commits the seventh-fewest turnovers. The Nittany Lions are hitting 39% of their 3-pointers, which ranks fifth in the country.

Check out our March Madness best bets and all of our March Madness picks for Saturday

Per Bart Torvik’s customizable ranks, no team has a better adjusted defensive efficiency in the country than Texas since Feb. 20. The Longhorns have certainly locked in on that end of the floor, but only one opponent has hit more than seven 3-pointers in a game over that span.

On the other end, the Longhorns want to use their athleticism to get to the rim. But that’s where the Nittany Lions are at their best, leading the country in defense on shots at the rim via ShotQuality’s metrics. According to, Penn State is fifth in the nation by allowing only 28.7% of shots at the rim.

For much of the college basketball season, there have been no elite teams. Texas has started to be treated like one in the market, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Longhorns get caught looking ahead to a return trip to Kansas City. At the very least, I expect Pickett and Co. to stay within two possessions.

Penn State vs. Texas best odds

DraftKings (-110)


After an early 6-point spread was available, the line has settled at 5.5 across all of our best sportsbooks. That is fine, as we like the Nittany Lions at +5 or better for this three-star pick.

We are placing this bet at DraftKings due to the same-game parlay options for those interested. When player props become available, betting on Pickett and Penn State in an SGP could lead to strong results on Saturday.

Penn State vs. Texas odds analysis

There was a 6-point spread available when lines first opened Thursday evening, but the consensus is now 5.5 as of Saturday morning with 52% of the betting action backing Penn State. The total is sitting at 140 after opening at 141 at most shops. The betting splits on the total are nearly even with just a 51% majority backing the Over.

Ken Pomeroy projects a 75-69 win for Texas, so it will be interesting to see if these lines move much ahead of Saturday’s tipoff.

Penn State vs. Texas game info

  • Date: Saturday, March 18, 7:45 p.m. ET
  • TV: CBS
  • Location: Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines, IA

Penn State-Texas pick made 03/17/2023 at 11 a.m. ET.

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