Winners of 15 straight, the Colgate Raiders are heading back to the NCAA Tournament for the second season in a row.
Matt Langel’s squad may not be as highly ranked in the NET as last season – they were ranked fourth – but they still bring in one of the best offenses in the country. Ranked 10th in effective field goal percentage, Colgate had scored 72+ points in seven of its last eight and 80+ in 11 games this season.
“I feel like the luckiest coach in the country,” Langel said. “I basically coach a team with zero issues. It’s truly a special, special group, and I think you can see it in the way they play the game.”
They ran through the conference tournament, beating all three of its opponents by double digits. The opener against Bucknell was a 28-point victory, the semifinal against Lehigh was a 20-point victory, and the title game was a 16-point win over Navy.
The difference between the first two rounds and the championship game was that Colgate got a legitimate battle out of the Midshipmen. After leading by 24 in the second half, Navy cut the Raider deficit all the way down to six with 6:22 remaining.
“[Navy] could have easily folded when they were down 24,” Colgate’s Tucker Richardson said. “A team like that, you know they’re going to keep coming because of what they’ve worked their whole lives for. And what they are going to continue to do. Our country is in good hands with people like that.”
Colgate forced a turnover and went on a 10-0 run after Navy cut it to six en route to a final score of 74-58. It clinched the Raiders’ fifth NCAA Tournament ticket in school history.
The Raiders are currently projected as a 14-seed in Joe Lunardi’s latest bracketology, and let me tell you that they’re a sneaky one.