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Colgate has the talent to become back-to-back Patriot League Tournament champions

The Raiders look to make it back-to-back tournaments after completing back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time in school history.

Colgate v American Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Chances are, you remember Colgate from last March.

The Raiders almost pulled off a No. 15/ No. 2 upset in last season’s NCAA Tournament against Tennessee, and started this year as the preseason favorites in the Patriot League. They’ve followed that up with an amazing 2019-20 season, starting 20-7 (11-3) with a bunch of familiar faces.

One of the Raiders leaders is Will Rayman, who has made second-team All-Patriot League the past two seasons and has scored well over 1,000 points in his time in Hamilton. On Sunday he went off against Loyola Maryland, scoring 17 points in the second half. In the first half, he had 10 points and shot a perfect 5-5.

Rayman might be a role player per KenPom, but he’s had eight double doubles on the season and four other games picking up double digit rebounds. The Raiders “go to guy” is Rapolas Ivanauskus. He was an AP All-American Honorable Mention in 2018-19, winning the league POY. The Northwestern transfer is used in the majority of Colgate’s possessions as shots go through both him and guard Jordan Burns. Combined they possess the ball 54.2 percent of the time and shoot the ball 54.4 percent of the time. Burns leads the squad with 15.2 points per game and Ivanauskas follows with 13 points per game.

The most unknown player at Colgate is guard Tucker Richardson. Matt Langel’s sophomore ranks 22nd in the country in effective field goal percentage, 23rd in true shooting percentage, 35th in two-point percentage and 86th in three-point percentage. And it was master stroke for Langel, as Colgate was his only offer per Verbal Commits.

All five starters for l average double digit points, making the Raiders one of the most put together teams in mid-major basketball. With still nearly a month to play, Colgate has already racked up a ton of accolades and statistical triumphs. These include having six players ranked in the top 279 in different categories on KenPom, being in first place all of Patriot League play and beating Cincinnati in mid-December.

On Sunday afternoon Colgate traveled to play the young but red-hot Greyhounds. Colgate hadn’t played in six days and it showed as the Greyhounds led the entire game, ultimately winning by four.

“We had a week off with no games and it showed. We got ourselves way behind on the road against a good team and that is hard to come back from. We have to get back to the drawing board. It’s one loss, we are still positioned where we would like to be. If we keep getting better and learning, then we have a great chance of closing out the regular season on a good note.” said Langel after the game.

With four games left in Patriot League action, the Raiders hold a one game lead in first place. In the Patriot League, the highest seed hosts. If they hold onto first place, Colgate will host all their tournament games at Cotterell Court, a place they’ve lost only once this season.

Colgate has made the NCAA tournament three times in their school history. They did it back-to-back years in 1995 and 1996, and they seem to have a team capable of doing that yet again this season.