March has arrived. And with it, the madness.
Time will tell if the Colgate Raiders are ready to handle it — or possibly even create it.
Placed in the Midwest Regional, the No. 14-seeded Patriot League champions make their fifth appearance in the NCAA Tournament as they head to Milwaukee for the first and (potentially) second rounds.
Obviously, Colgate faces a steep mountain to climb, starting in the first round. After all, the Raiders take on No. 3 Wisconsin in the Badgers’ home state. While bettors in New York cannot wager on Colgate in the Empire State, sportsbooks in New Jersey expect a relatively quick exit for the Raiders. Wisconsin stands as a 7.5-point favorite, for starters. A Cinderella run by Colgate would also carry a decent March Madness betting payday:
- Sweet 16: +2000
- Elite Eight: +6600
- Final Four: +20000
- Win National Championship: +300000
Colgate Raiders head to Milwaukee to start Midwest Regional
Few teams have been as hot heading into the NCAA Tournament as Colgate. In fact, only two other programs can match the 15-game winning streak strung together by the Raiders: No. 13 South Dakota State (21 games) and No. 7 Murray State (20).
Coming off its second straight Patriot League tournament title, Colgate (23-11) enters the tourney with the nation’s second-best 3-point shooting percentage, its 40.3% clip topped only by South Dakota State’s 44.9% rate.
While Colgate faces the difficult task of attempting to upset the Wisconsin Badgers, the Raiders will certainly have experience on their side. Consider that of the 16 players on last season’s squad that advanced to the tournament, 13 returned this season, including four starters. Patriot League tournament MVP Jack Ferguson proved his readiness for March Madness, averaging 2o.7 points during the conference tourney while hitting 12 of 16 3-pointers.
That said, No. 3 Wisconsin (24-7) features Big Ten Player of the Year Johnny Davis, who averaged 19.7 points and 8.2 rebounds this season. The Badgers take care of the ball and rank high in offensive and defensive efficiency.
But it isn’t called March Madness for nothing. Over the past eight tournaments, a No. 14 seed has recorded the upset six times.
History of Colgate Raiders in NCAA Tournament
March Madness has not been kind to the Colgate program, which still seeks its first victory in the NCAA Tournament.
1995: No. 1 Kansas 82, No. 16 Colgate 68
The Raiders’ first tournament dance, unfortunately, featured a decorated partner. And top-seeded Kansas gave the newcomers quite the welcome.
Colgate actually opened the game with six straight points. But that advantage quickly went away after the Jayhawks scored 11 straight to take control. Adonal Foyle hit a jumper midway through the first half to bring the Raiders back to within four points. But Kansas then went on a 19-5 run to grab a commanding 36-18 lead.
Still, Colgate crawled back, again climbing back to within four points with 15 minutes left in the game. Another Jayhawks run, though, gave the No. 1 seed a 14-point lead en route to the win.
Foyle, the eighth overall pick in the 1997 NBA Draft, put up 16 points and 13 rebounds in the game, and Tucker Neale scored 25 in Colgate’s tournament debut.
1996: No. 1 Connecticut 68, No. 16 Colgate 59
A Mike Roberts layup evened the score 8-8. But Colgate didn’t have much to celebrate after that.
Hall of Famer Ray Allen scored 12 points during a 15-0 run to give UConn a 31-14 lead on the Huskies’ way to a 17-point halftime advantage. The lead grew to as much as 22 points in the second half.
While Colgate would not fold, that lead proved insurmountable.
A 3-pointer from Brendan Tuohey helped the Raiders get back to within nine points with under seven minutes to go, but UConn staved off the comeback.
Foyle against highlighted Colgate’s appearance with 21 points and 14 rebounds. Seth Schaeffer added 18 points on 6-of-12 shooting from 3-point range.
2019: No. 2 Tennessee 77, No. 15 Colgate 70
Third time was almost the charm for Colgate, which opened the second half with a 19-6 run to erase a 14-point deficit and grab a 49-48 lead midway through the second half.
A 3-pointer by Tucker Richardson put the Raiders up 52-50, but that was the last time they led. Tennessee battled back and kept Colgate at bay the rest of the way to avoid the massive upset.
The Raiders trailed by three points with 45 seconds to go, but back-to-back 3-pointers from the Volunteers sealed the deal and sent Colgate home.
Jordan Burns went off for the Raiders, hitting 8-of-13 3-pointers en route to a game-high 32 points.
2020: No. 3 Arkansas 85, No. 14 Colgate 68
Here’s a game in which the final score does not tell the whole story. But it certainly shows the dominance of Arkansas’ full-court defense.
Jack Ferguson hit a trio of 3-pointers as part of a 16-2 Colgate run that put the Raiders on top 33-19 with under six minutes left in the first half. It appeared as if the 14th-seeded Raiders were ready to log the first major upset of the tournament.
Then, Arkansas stormed back.
A 17-0 burst to close the half set up Razorback domination after the break as Arkansas outscored Colgate 49-35 over the final 20 minutes to advance. Colgate did make it interesting late, trimming the gap to three points. But Arkansas put together a 10-0 run to polish off the victory.
No NY sports betting allowed for potential Colgate run
The Raiders face tough sledding against No. 3 Wisconsin. But crazier things have happened in March. Unfortunately for bettors in the Empire State, NY sports betting cannot accept wagers on games involving in-state programs.
That means individuals looking to potentially cash in on Colgate pulling the upset will have to head to New Jersey or Pennsylvania. The same goes for bettors who want to wager on Iona or St. Bonaventure in the NIT.
Fortunately, not all is lost for New Yorkers. First of all, Buffalo plays host to the first two rounds of the West and Midwest regionals, held March 17 and 19 at KeyBank Center. All six of those games, as they do not involve in-state schools, will be available to bet on with online sportsbooks in New York.
As would all NCAA games involving New Jersey-based teams, markets not found in the Garden State.
- First Four: No. 11 Rutgers vs. No. 11 Notre Dame, Dayton, March 16
- East Regional: No. 15 Saint Peter’s vs. No. 2 Kentucky, Indianapolis, March 17
- West Regional: No. 11 Rutgers (if win) vs. No. 6 Alabama, San Diego, March 18
- South Regional: No. 8 Seton Hall vs. No. 9 TCU, San Diego, March 18