The Raiders are becoming a familiar face in the NCAA tournament, now making their third straight appearance. Both previous times they played very competitively. In 2019, they turned a large second half deficit into a lead midway through the second half before second-seed Tennessee could put them away. In 2021, they took a 14-point lead on third-seed Arkansas, quickly gave it all back, but remained within striking range until a late Razorback run put them away. They’re hoping that the third time is the charm, as they take their 19-1 record since early January and put it on the line against third-seed Wisconsin.
Team: Colgate Raiders
Location: Hamilton, NY
Record: 23-11 (16-2 Patriot)
Tournament history: This will be Colgate’s fifth NCAA appearance and third in a row, but they’ve yet to get a tournament win.
It’s the Raiders third straight appearance, and they take on three-seed Wisconsin. And speaking of threes, Colgate is very, very good at shooting those. (Yeah that segue was awful, I should be fired.) They shoot a touch over 40% from deep, which is second behind only South Dakota State in the entire nation. Four of their five starters can shoot effectively from out there, which is a good building block against a strong defensive team like Wisconsin that has more size. Of course, Colgate does not often face a team with the length and athleticism of Wisconsin on its schedule, and those things could disrupt their three-point shooters (we saw a similar thing with South Dakota State, who was outshot from deep in their loss to Providence). Still, a famous recipe to pull off big upsets is getting hot from three, and it’s a good start to know that your guys can hit them, so the Raiders can get their drive-and-kick game going, they could be dangerous.
Speaking of their starters, they are very experienced. Colgate’s three leading scorers are seniors guards – Nelly Cummings, Jack Ferguson and Tucker Richardson. Cummings went to last year’s tournament with the Raiders, and Ferguson and Richardson were on the 2019 team as well as last year’s. Having good, solid senior guards that can shoot is a huge boost in March, especially ones with tournament experience, and ones that will be motivated by their past heartbreaks.
The Raiders will need to shore up a couple of things if they’ll want to win. In their losses to non-league competition, it was almost always because of two things – offensive rebounds and turnovers. Colgate will be at a size disadvantage against Wisconsin, so it will need to figure out how to limit the Badgers’ offensive rebounds. Secondly, the Raiders will need to take good care of the basketball, as turnovers have doomed them in losses earlier in the season. It won’t be easy, especially in what basically amounts to a home game for the favored Badgers. But if Colgate can make its threes, overcome its size disadvantage to rebound effectively and limit turnovers, it may require a remarkable performance from Badger superstar Johnny Davis to take them down.
DraftKings Odds and Game Info:
Spread: COLG +7.5
ML: +270 COLG, -350 WISC
Game time: 9:50 p.m. ET
Location: Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin