College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions for Colgate vs. Pitt: Will the Mid-Major Team Win on Road?
Joe Robbins/Getty Images. Pictured: Oliver Lynch-Daniels
- Colgate is favored at Pittsburgh despite the Panthers being an ACC team.
- The Raiders dropped 100 points on Syracuse on the road.
- Shane McNichol breaks down the matchup and offers up his best bet.
Colgate vs. Pitt Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Patriot League teams play road games against power conference teams all the time. Usually, they are massive underdogs in those games. Occasionally, the low-major team will give the home team a run for their money, or even pulls off the improbable upset.
It’s even more rare for a low-major like Colgate of the Patriot League to be a road favorite on the home court of a power conference team, but that’s exactly what will happen Thursday when Colgate visits Pittsburgh.
The Raiders are among the best teams in their conference as they have their sights on the NCAA Tournament and a Cinderella moment. Pitt is in the depths of a re-build process that has no end in sight.
Are the Panthers worth backing as an underdog in their home gym?
The Raiders may be under .500 so far this season and have four losses to teams ranked 149th or lower in KenPom, but don’t get it twisted: this is a very competitive low-major club. Just asked Jim Boeheim and his Syracuse Orange. Earlier this season, Colgate upset Syracuse in the Carrier Dome, breaking a streak of 49 straight losses to Syracuse.
Colgate is likely the best team in the Patriot League and very much a danger to win at Pitt on Thursday night. The Raiders’ success is fueled by a very efficient offense. Colgate plays a modern, free-flowing style that focuses on sharing the ball and hoisting 3-pointers.
The Raiders rank 21st nationally in 3-point rate and for good reason; Colgate makes 39.3 percent of its shots outside the arc, 20th-best in Division I. Only eight teams in the nation score a higher percentage of their points on the long ball than Colgate does. The Raiders find those shots with crisp ball movement and a lack of selfishness as they rank fifth in the nation in Assist Rate.
Bowling Green transfer Nelly Cummings is the player to watch. He’s elevated his game this year by averaging just shy of 18 points per game, thanks to 55% shooting on over six attempts per game from beyond the 3-point line.
It’s getting ugly in Pittsburgh.
Jamie Dixon took the Panthers to 11 NCAA Tournaments in his 13 years as the head coach at Pitt, including an Elite Eight, two Sweet Sixteens, and two number one seeds.
When he decided to leave for TCU, his alma mater, Pitt turned to Kevin Stallings, who was coming off a long run of very modest success at Vanderbilt. Stallings won just four of the 36 ACC games he’d coach over a two-year stretch at Pitt, losing any momentum the program had after the Dixon-era.
Jeff Capel has struggled to bring in, and more importantly retain, talent at Pitt. Panther transfers are littered across the college basketball landscape, helping better teams at other programs win games. Marcus Carr is a star at Texas. Trey McGowens starts for Nebraska. Xavier Johnson does the same for Indiana. Au’Diese Toney is a major player for Arkansas.
The resulting 2021-22 Pitt Panther roster is a disaster. This is an ACC team with home losses to The Citadel and UMBC, both by double-digits! The Panthers don’t do much, if anything, well. If there’s anything the Panthers can do offensively, it’s earn trips to the free throw line. Once they get there, Pitt is shooting 62.3 percent as a team, which ranks among the worst in the nation.
Pitt is bigger and more athletic than Colgate and, in order to win this game, will need to prove that by winning the rebounding battle by a large margin and scoring in the paint and at the free throw line.
Colgate vs. Pitt Betting Pick
Colgate is a better basketball team than Pitt, right now. Almost any analytical model would agree with that statement. KenPom and BartTorvik both favor Colgate to win this game. EvanMiya.com sees the Raiders as favorites of more than seven points. That makes sense if you rank Colgate as a top 100 team and Pitt outside the top 100, as his rankings currently do.
Pitt can win this game if Colgate has a cold shooting night on the road and the Panthers take advantage by winning in the paint. In reality though, there’s no reason to believe that should happen. Colgate is playing better, has a better coach, and is smart enough to patiently find the shots they want on the offensive end.
Call me crazy, but I’m taking the low-major on the road laying points. I won’t go higher than -2.5 or -3 with -110 odds, but I’ll have my eye out for alternate lines that have some more juice behind them, especially if the line moves any more toward Colgate.
Pick: Colgate -2.5