Northern Iowa sure has a flair for the dramatics. The No. 11 Panthers won yet another game at the buzzer as they took out No. 6 Texas in the round of 64. However, the No. 3-ranked Texas A&M Aggies will provide a couple more problems for the Panthers on both ends of the court.
Can the Panthers produce another moment of magic, or will Texas A&M end their tournament run? Read on below for more on this intriguing West Region matchup. Meanwhile, check out who the winner of A&M vs. Northern Iowa might face in the Sweet 16 with our preview of Oklahoma vs. VCU.
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March Madness No. 3 Texas A&M vs No. 11 Northern Iowa Preview
Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City
When: Sunday, March 20, 7:40 PM ET
Line: Texas A&M Aggies vs Northern Iowa Panthers – view all March Madness lines
TV Broadcast: truTV
Betting on the Texas A&M Aggies
It’s probably time to start taking Texas A&M very seriously. The Aggies, co-champions of the SEC regular season, just went out and smashed the Green Bay Phoenix, 92-65, in their first round matchup. With the win, the Aggies now improve to 9-1 (8-2 ATS) in their last 10 games, with their only loss coming in overtime to Kentucky in the tournament title game.KenPom.com, put the clamps on the Phoenix, who shot just 38 percent from the field. Meanwhile, they had a balanced attack (six players had nine or more points) led by senior Danuel House’s 20 points.
Unlike their state neighbor, Texas, the Aggies should be able to turn their superior size into a much more significant advantage on the boards against a smaller Northern Iowa team. With the likes of Jalen Jones, 6-10 freshman Tyler Davis, and 6-10 sophomore Tonny Trocha-Morelos, the Aggies were 38th in the nation in rebounding.
Meanwhile, the Aggies’ ability to go inside-out on offense will be tough for the Panthers to handle. House and Jones, who lead the team with 15 PPG apiece, are both dependable options in crunch time, while Davis can crash the offensive glass for putbacks. They should be less prone to scoring droughts than the Panthers, who will struggle to create offense at times if their jumpers aren’t falling.
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Betting on the Northern Iowa Panthers
Paul Jesperson’s miraculous buzzer-beater from midcourt gave the Northern Iowa Panthers the 75-72 win in their first-round matchup. It was the Panthers’ third-straight round of 64 win, and their second-straight win via buzzer-beater after Wes Washpun’s game-winner in the conference tournament final against Evansville.
The Panthers bravely battled on the boards despite a size disadvantage inside against Texas, and were outrebounded by just two (32-30). Meanwhile, their ability to spread the court with shooters helped neutralize their disadvantage on the offensive end, particularly in the first half, when they went up by as much as 16 points on the Longhorns.
The Panthers went 8-for-20 from beyond the arc against Texas, and should be able to launch even more from deep against an A&M defense that doesn’t mind giving up a ton of threes. 40 percent of Aggies opponents’ shots were threes, one of the highest percentages in the country. Meanwhile, the Panthers are in the top 50 in the nation in three-point percentage at 37.5 percent.
Northern Iowa should also be well-equipped to handle an aggressive A&M defense that forces a lot of turnovers. The Panthers are very good at taking care of the ball, turning it over just 14.5 percent of the time (80th-best in the country).
Texas A&M’s balance on both ends of the floor is too much for Northern Iowa to overcome. The Aggies win, 71-63.