Texas vs Colgate March Madness Betting Preview
Big 12 Champs Begin NCAA Title Quest as Double-Digit Favorite
The first round of the NCAA Tournament tips off Thursday, with Texas vs Colgate in Des Moines, Iowa. Tip-off is slated for 7:25 p.m. on truTV, with the winner advancing to the second round of the Midwest Regional against either No. 7 seed Texas A&M or No. 10 seed Penn State.
Texas Longhorns: Big 12 Champs Hot at Right Time
Texas is making its third straight NCAA Tournament appearance, fourth in six seasons and 37th overall. This is the Longhorns’ first trip with Rodney Terry as interim head coach. Texas has been to three Final Fours, most recently in 2003. As a No. 6 seed last season, it lost in the second round to third-seeded Purdue.
How They Got Here
Texas got off to a roaring start, winning its first six games to climb to No. 2 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll. That included high-profile non conference victories over Gonzaga and Creighton. The Longhorns’ season took a tumultuous turn, though, when head coach Chris Beard was arrested on Dec. 12 on domestic assault charges. The school took quick action, suspending Beard without pay before eventually firing him. Terry, a longtime assistant, was named Beard’s replacement on an interim basis.
Instead of crumbling under adversity, the Longhorns withstood the challenges surrounding them and coasted through the remainder of non conference play and most of their Big 12 slate. They did lose two of their final three regular NCAAB season games but responded by capturing their second Big 12 Tournament title in three seasons. In thumping Kansas 75-59 in the final, they were able to lock up their highest seed since 2007-08.
How Far Will They Go
A No. 2 seed should have national championship aspirations. Texas is no different, even with Houston, the current favorite to win March Madness, atop its region. After beating Kansas twice in the last week, anything seems possible for the 26-8 Longhorns. Getting past Houston could be tough, but the Longhorns did win the strongest conference in the country. That carries a lot of weight.
Colgate Red Raiders: Mid-Major Becoming a Familiar Face in March
Colgate has qualified for the last four NCAA Tournaments, excluding 2020. This will be the sixth all-time appearance for the Red Raiders, who remain in search of their first tournament victory.
How They Got Here
Colgate was the clear-cut best team in the Patriot League all season. The Red Raiders won a league-record 17 games and finished a whopping six games ahead of second place. Despite that, they still needed to win their conference tournament to lock up another trip to the Big Dance. And to no surprise, the Red Raiders did just that, stringing together double-digit victories over Loyola (Md.), Army and Lafayette to claim the Patriot League’s automatic bid.
Winners of nine straight games, the Red Raiders are one of the hottest teams in the field of 68.
How Far Will They Go
Their odds as a double-digit underdog are all you need to know. The Red Raiders are a nice story, but they’re not in Texas’ weight class. Since 1985, No. 2 seeds are 138-10 against No. 15 seeds.
Handicapping The Game
Colgate’s year-in, year-out success is no coincidence. The Red Raiders are fundamentally sound. They’re second in the conference in both field goal percentage (51.3) and assist/turnover ratio (1.82) and third in assists per game (18.6). In essence, they’re extremely efficient and don’t make many mistakes.
That said, Texas vs Colgate looks like a big mismatch. The Red Raiders haven’t faced anyone of Texas’ caliber to this point. In fact, the Red Raiders played only one team ranked better than 100 in the NET, in Auburn, and lost 93-66.
Texas thrives on creating turnovers and getting easy buckets in transition as a result. The Longhorns’ defense ranks 16th in turnover percentage and 11th in adjusted defensive efficiency, per KenPom. Should that trend continue, the Longhorns should overwhelm Colgate with their pressure defense. Don’t expect the Longhorns to have any trouble scoring either, with standout guard Marcus Carr running the show.
Notably, when assessing college basketball point spreads for Texas vs Colgate, both schools covered over 50% of the time this season.Follow us on Twitter