Jalen Pickett, Penn State, March Madness

After a full day of March Madness basketball in Des Moines it was obvious who the best teams playing are.


With displays of defensive excellence, precise shooting, and star-led performances, Des Moisne had a fun four days of games, although none of them were relatively close.

(1) Kansas ran past (16) Howard, 96-68. (8) Arkansas survived a late put by (9) Illinois, 73-63. (2) Texas controlled the game over (15) Colgate, 81-61. (10) Penn State took down (7) Texas A&M with ease, 76-59.

1) Kansas is scary in all aspects

Matched up against Howard, the Jayhawks were expected to dominate as they won by 28 points and led in all statistical categories.

Although Kansas’ tallest starter is 6-8, they showed their dominance by displaying their athleticism getting 7 blocks and outleaping their counterparts.

For the most part, Kansas also played smart basketball having just over 30% of their shots come from beyond the ark. They would take higher percentage looks when they were cold from deep throughout the game which happened sparingly.

(1) Kansas plays (8) Arkansas at 4:15 p.m. ET on Saturday in the round of 32.

2) Defense travels for Arkansas

Arkansas and Illinois faced off against each other and the Razorbacks were able to hold Illinois to 6-of-22 shooting from deep.

Defense inside the arc was even more impressive, as the Illini only went 14-for-30 from two, forcing Illinois out of their game offensively.

Davonte Davis stuffed the stat sheet defensively with 4 steals, along with Anthony Black adding another 3.

Heading into their matchup against Kansas, they’ll need to continue their dominance and a part of that will be the constant rotation with their bigs and bigger guards in play.

(8) Arkansas plays (1) Kansas at 4:15 p.m. ET on Saturday in the round of 32.

3) Athleticism + precise shooting = Score at will

Going against a team in Colgate that’s known for shooting threes versus their athleticism, Texas was able to show off its high-flying and athletic ability. 

Sir’Jabari Rice went a scorching 7-for-10 from the three-point line and finished with 23 total points.. Every time he touched the ball the arena knew something was about to happen, and 70% of the time, Rice met the expectation from deep.

Marcus Carr was also an efficient 6-for-10 from the field, knowing when to take his shot and playing a facilitator role with 4 assists.

(2) Texas plays (10) Penn State at 6:45 p.m. ET on Saturday in the round of 32.

4) Booty ball and three-pointers go very well together

Something that has worked for Penn State and continued to was Jalen Pickett backing down his defender with half or less time on the shot clock and either shooting a fadeaway or hitting a wide-open shooter for three.

Pickett has led this Penn State team all season and when it mattered most he had 8 assists, showing that playing “booty ball” can work in college.

After coming from Bucknell, Andrew Funk had his best season shooting 42% from three. Against Texas A&M, Funk went 8-for-10 from downtown. Anytime he shot, no matter the distance, it was going in.

If Funk can shoot half as well as he did against A&M, then Penn State has a shot at taking down Texas.

(10) Penn State plays (2) Texas at 6:45 p.m. ET on Saturday in the round of 32.