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Texas Longhorns vs. Purdue Boilermakers Prediction: NCAA Tournament Second Round Preview

Texas Longhorns vs. Purdue Boilermakers Prediction: NCAA Tournament Second Round Preview

Longhorns and Boilermakers face off in Milwaukee for a spot in the Sweet 16

After hitting a few speedbumps heading into the NCAA Tournament, the Texas Longhorns got things started on the right foot with a first-round victory over surprising ACC champion Virginia Tech. Next up is a matchup with one of the strongest teams from the Big Ten, and one that could easily make a deep run in this year's Tournament, the Purdue Boilermakers.

Purdue (28-7) may have come up just shy of winning a Big Ten title this season, but they were clearly prepared to get things going on the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament with a fairly stress-free victory over Ivy League champion Yale in the first round. The Boilermakers are the team favored to win this matchup with the Longhorns (22-11), but they will have to earn their way into the Sweet 16 in what could be a good second-round matchup.

Here is what you need to know heading into Sunday evening's East Region second-round matchup.

East Region: No. 6 Texas Longhorns (22-11) vs. No. 3 Purdue Boilermakers (28-7)

Time: Sunday, March 20 at 8:40 p.m. ET (approximately)
Where: Fiserv Forum (Milwaukee)
Spread: Purdue -3.5

Keys for Texas

One of the key players for the Longhorns, forward Timmy Allen, had a rough outing against Virginia Tech when it came to getting shots to drop. Allen, the team's leading scorer this season, made just four of his 11 shot attempts, so the Longhorns were in need of someone else rising to the occasion to overcome a tough shooting night from Allen. Fortunately, guard Andrew Jones was feeling it against the Hokies with a 21-point effort powered by 5-of-7 from beyond the 3-point line.

If Texas is going to take down Purdue, more help like that would be great to see. It is also expected Allen may be able to have a better game, although he did well in helping in other ways with six rebounds and two steals. If he gets a few more shots to fall through the basket, Texas should be in a good position.

Keys for Purdue

Purdue's style of play may not be one that everyone gets on board with, but it works. It certainly did against an overmatched program like Yale in the first round and it is a reason why the Boilermakers have won as many games as they have this season. There is little reason to change what they are doing defensively and with the ball in their hands. Jaden Ivey is a player capable of taking over a game, as he did with 22 points against the Bulldogs, and Zach Edey gives Purdue a big-man advantage, which resulted in 16 points on Friday.

The Boilermakers can rely on that duo to lead them to victory in many matchups, and it should help give them an edge against the Longhorns. Purdue plays better defense and allows far fewer points per game than Texas has. As long as the Boilermakers can run the game at their tempo, which they should be capable of doing, then head coach Matt Painter and his squad should start making their travel arrangements for next weekend.

Final Analysis

Purdue is a better balanced and far more consistent team in the areas where you need to succeed this time of the year. The defensive style of the Boilermakers will make it difficult for key players on the Texas roster to get on track or establish much of a rhythm, and that will bode very well for Purdue. As long as the game stays under 70 points, the Boilermakers will be moving on.

Prediction: Purdue 68, Texas 64

— Written by Kevin McGuire, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @KevinOnCFB, on Instagram, and Like him on Facebook.