Texas A&M’s and Penn State’s experience in high-stakes games have prepared both squads for NCAA Tournament

Texas A&M’s and Penn State’s experience in high-stakes games have prepared both squads for NCAA Tournament
Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 3:04 PM CDT
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DES MOINES, Iowa (KBTX) - Neither Texas A&M men’s basketball nor Penn State has a lot of NCAA Tournament experience on their teams. But both squads are still battle-tested and ready for this moment.

This will be the first time the Aggies play in the NCAA Tournament in the Buzz Williams era. Except for a few transfers, most of the team has never been on this stage before, and the same can be said for Penn State. The Nittany Lions last made the tournament back in 2011. But both of these teams have still made deep postseason runs. A&M and Penn State reached their conference championship games this year. That kind of experience has prepared them for this season of survive and advance.

Both Texas A&M and Penn State have little NCAA Tournament experience to draw from

“Going about it all season, not just when it’s time to play in the tournament, just building it up from when we started in August,” explained A&M guard Wade Taylor IV on why they’ve had success in the postseason. “We know when the tournament comes, it’s time to lay everything on the line time, ‘cuz it’s win or go home. We just try to take every possession and every opportunity we have to shine and go 1-0 that moment. We don’t want to look too far ahead because we know that moment can impact it,” Taylor added.

“Not much is going to change,” A&M forward Henry Coleman III said. “We’ve kind of had this type of light on us all year. We’ve been prepared for the moment. We’ve been ready for the moment. Now we have to go seize the moment,” Coleman added.

“Chance favors the most prepared,” said A&M guard Manny Obaseki. “I feel like we’re the most prepared team. What we do day in and day out, I know nobody else does like us. We don’t have to talk about it, we just have to show it. That’s what we plan on doing,” Obaseki added.

“You watch this tournament every year and you see how close every game is, games you didn’t think were going to be close and games you thought were going to be close and whatnot,” Penn State guard Andrew Funk said. “A lot of it comes down to one possession. And just even thinking back to that and even the three weeks prior to that, we’ve been playing in very high stakes games that were very close down the stretch, and building on that experience and having that to look back on is definitely going to be important for us as we go through this tournament,” Funk added.

Texas A&M and Penn State will tip-off at 8:55 p.m. on TBS following the Texas-Colgate game.