Arkansas vs. Colgate Odds, Picks, Predictions: Back Razorbacks in High-Scoring NCAA Tournament Matchup
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images. Pictured: Moses Moody.
Arkansas vs. Colgate Odds
|Moneyline||-450 / +333|
|Time||Friday, 11:45 a.m. ET|
The Arkansas Razorbacks became the most flammable team in all of college basketball through the month of February.
A 12-game winning streak in the SEC did have a loss mixed in at Oklahoma State, but Hog fans of the 1990s have been experiencing basketball nirvana in Eric Musselman’s second season in Fayetteville.
The Hogs are dangerous with an elite combination of slashers to the rim, outside shooting, and one of the best free-throw percentages in program history. Musselman’s scheduling of other tournament teams like North Texas, Oral Roberts and Abilene Christian may pay dividends in the dance.
Colgate lost just a single game all season, its second against Army. The Raiders have won 13 straight, including their run to the Patriot League Championship.
Head coach Matt Langel has Colgate ranked top 10 in the NET with one of the best effective field goal rates on offense and defense. At 25th in tempo, this game lines up to be one of the fastest in Round 1.
Collin Wilson: The knock on the Razorbacks through late January was the lack of Quadrant 1 victories. Since then, Arkansas has won 12 consecutive conference games, led by Eric Musselman, who’s the most ebullient head coach in Division I basketball.
A narrow loss to LSU came in the SEC Tournament semifinal round, as shots stopped falling for JD Notae and Justin Smith.
The coaching job has been an absolute masterpiece, following the loss of two stars — Mason Jones and Isaiah Joe — to the NBA after last season. Musselman gets the most out of a roster that entered the season 339th in minutes continuity.
The Razorbacks have been one of the conference’s best when it comes to ball security, as well as continually increased productivity in the paint with the return of Justin Smith from injury in mid-January.
The season-long statistics don’t do Arkansas justice for how efficient it has been over its nine-game winning streak leading up to the conference tournament semifinals since they got fully healthy.
Freshman Moses Moody was named to the All-SEC Team, with Smith earning second-team honors. Freshman Jaylin Williams returns from injury to provide more depth in the paint. How scorching is Arkansas basketball?
Per Torvik, only Illinois has more wins above bubble since Feb. 1 in the nation. There really are no glaring holes for the speedy Hogs, who deserve to be in the conversation as a potential Final Four team.
Stuckey: Heading into the tournament after this unique season, many teams have skewed season-long statistical profiles as a result of COVID-19 pauses and reduced schedules.
Not only did some have to deal with long breaks in action, but their play would also suffer upon return whether due to conditioning, getting back in the flow or just missing key players for a few games.
One of the most interesting case studies in the field is Colgate, which didn’t play an out-of-conference schedule before playing only three Patriot League teams in league play: Army, Boston and Holy Cross.
So, how good are the Raiders? It’s hard to know with such a funky schedule, so you have to take their statistical profile with a grain of salt.
What I can tell you is they are led by a tremendous senior point guard Jordan Burns, who does have tournament experience. Two years ago, he dropped 32 in the first round against Tennessee in a valiant second-half comeback effort before Colgate eventually fell by seven points.
He and junior Nelly Cummings make up a dynamic backcourt that loves to get out in transition and find the plethora of shooters Colgate will have on the court at all times, led by Jack Ferguson, who is shooting over 50% from beyond the arc on the season.
Colgate prefers to play fast, ranking 25th in adjusted tempo. The Raiders are a bit limited in the post and will be at a severe athletic disadvantage against most Power Five teams in the tourney, including Arkansas.
Regardless of its wacky schedule, we know this team can shoot and it will likely be extremely 3-point reliant against superior competition.
If the shots are falling, it can compete. If not, it’s going to be tough as teams should have no issues getting to the rim against Colgate.
Matchup & Betting Analysis
Collin Wilson: The NET ranking and overall record can be a bit misleading when it comes to Colgate.
It has not faced any competition on the short schedule and the Patriot League cannot replicate what the Razorbacks are capable of.
Colgate is an excellent 3-point shooting team, but Arkansas has beaten the likes of Oral Roberts and Alabama, both of whom have found success beyond the perimeter.
The Raiders have a fast tempo offensively but have never seen an offense as fast as the Razorbacks. Colgate’s average tempo of opponents is 147th. For Arkansas, tempo on defense is the norm against Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama, which are all top-20.
Arkansas will be able to handle the Colgate tempo, as its opponents’ collective tempo rate is third in the nation.
The Hogs are champions of transition defense with Devo Davis and Moses Moody. Colgate is 300th in defensive turnover rate, meaning Razorback possessions will not be contentious and should end in attacks at the rim with Justin Smith and Jalen Tate.
The Hogs are projected up to -10, but this may be a typical Razorback live betting game when Colgate takes its best punch in the first 10 minutes.
Musselman is one of the top coaches in shot quality points per possession after a timeout. Take the Razorbacks pre-tip and live. Woo Pig Sooie.
Pick: Arkansas -8.5