What Texas interim head coach Rodney Terry and his players said about Penn State

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Penn State is set to take on the Texas Longhorns Saturday with a berth in the Sweet 16 on the line. Friday, the Longhorns spoke to the media and discussed the Nittany Lions, star guard Jalen Pickett and other topics about the game.

Here’s everything Texas said about Penn State and the second round matchup between the two teams in the NCAA Tournament.

Texas interim head coach Rodney Terry

Opening statement

“Tomorrow’s opponent, very well coached team. Micah has done a great job with the program there at Penn State. Man, you talk about one of the best passing teams I’ve seen all year on tape. Getting a chance to watch them in person, elite level passing team, elite level shooters, with a challenging, unique player in Jalen Pickett who does it all. He’s a guy that can score the basketball, pass the basketball, and, man, elite level shooters around in Funk and Lundy. Really good team. One of the best three-point shooting teams in the country. It going to be a great matchup.”

On Pickett

“He’s a big-time player. I think he’s an NBA player. He reminds me of — going back aways — that’s Tony Allen. I was in the league with Tony Allen at Oklahoma State when he came in the league, and he changed Oklahoma State and made ‘em a Final Four team. Pickett can score the ball, pass the ball. He makes other guys around him better. In our league the closest guy I could liken him to is Keyontae Johnson from Kansas State. He was an extremely hard matchup for us this year because he could score the ball, play bully ball a little bit like Jalen Pickett does.

“He plays some bully ball a little bit in terms of backing undersized guys down and really trying to put himself in scoring position on a great pass position from a teammate. That’s probably the closest comparison we had this year to deal with was Keyontae Johnson.”

Texas players Timmy Allen and Marcus Carr

On Penn State

Allen: “They’re a really good team. They beat a good Texas A&M team last night. They got a lot of shots and guys that can score in a lot of different ways. Obviously that was the focus for us against Colgate, so nothing changes there. They have good players around the basket and getting other people sets, so it’s no different than any other team. Prepare the right way, watch a lot the film, hone in on details and locking in on that. Coming off the Colgate game we got a sense of urgency, running people off the three-point line, and that will be a big key this game.”

Carr: “We watched that game. They’re a good team. They shoot the ball well. They have a lot of guys who can knock down shots and some guys who can create shots for others as well. We’re locked in on our game plan and looking to execute.”

On forcing turnovers

Carr: “Trying to speed guys up. It’s different every game depending on who the team is and what people are trying to tackle on defense and stuff like that, but generally we want to be the most aggressive team and speed teams up. ... They do a good job of taking care of the basketball, so it’s going to be a battle of two good teams.”

On why they like their chances

Allen: “I mean, with this team I like our chances any game. This is a great team we’re playing. We have to prepare just like any other team. I just think if we hang our head on our preparation like we always do, we’re confident in that. We still gotta go out and play the game. We respect our opponent 100 times through. We know they’re a really good team, but we’re going to hone in on our preparation, focus on what we do and what we can control, and just go from there and play off that.”

On Pickett

Allen: “I think he’s a great player. We’ve broken down some of his film. He’s a guy who can get a lot of buckets himself, rebound the ball, pass the ball. That’s something I admire. I feel like I’m that way, too. I like the matchup. I’m going to be matched on him sometimes; sometimes other guys will be on him. But it’s definitely something I’m excited for and something I focus on going into games.

“He’s a great player, and I’m just trying to make him uncomfortable as much as I can, along with other guys who are going to be matched on him. Just try to take him off his spots a little bit make him as uncomfortable as possible. But, yeah, I love matchups like that. Nothing different than what I’ve gone up against all year, so, yeah, I’m excited.”