Patriot League Championship Odds, Picks: Lafayette vs. Colgate Preview
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Lafayette vs. Colgate Odds
-115o / -105u
-115o / -105u
When I pulled the assignment to cover the Patriot League Tournament, I thought I had it easy.
In the first round, the easy pick was to fade a Lafayette team in shambles. The Leopards had lost seven of nine, ranked last in the conference in offensive efficiency and recently lost their head coach to administrative leave following an undisclosed issue.
Traveling down the road to play at hated rival Lehigh felt like an impossible task.
The Leopards responded by jumping out to a 25-point lead in the moments just after tip-off.
When the semifinals rolled around, surely that shooting luck would dry up and, even against lower-seeded American, the Leopards wouldn’t be able to overcome the issues that plagued them all season long.
That turned out to be true for the first 30 minutes of the game, as American built a 19-point lead before slowly collapsing. Lafayette forced overtime, but American still took control.
The Eagles held a five-point led with 23 seconds to play on the road. With some late-game blunders by American, Lafayette hit a 3 in the final seconds to force a second overtime, where the Leopards broke the game open.
These Leopards are the mouse that simply refuses to be caught. Lafayette would have the most losses of any NCAA tournament team ever.
The degree of difficulty, however, is about to jump up a notch. Lafayette’s first two tournament games came against teams ranked 280th or lower by KenPom.
Colgate, which finished Patriot League play 15-1 and seeks a third straight NCAA tournament bid, ranks 112th by KenPom. Colgate has lost just once since Christmas Day. The Raiders beat Syracuse this season, by 12 on the road.
Colgate is a different class of opponent.
The Raiders boast a top-50 offense in the nation, thanks to the best effective field goal rate in the country. That number is heavily influenced by Colgate shooting the best 3-point percentage in the country. It’s hard to overstate how well this team can shoot the ball.
Over the past two seasons, Ryan Moffatt has taken 247 3s and made 46% of those looks. He’s not even the best shooter on his own team.
Fifth-year senior Oliver Lynch-Daniels has a real claim as the best catch-and-shoot deadeye in college basketball. In the last two years, he’s hoisted 231 deep balls and made 120 of them, good for 52%.
Offense is pretty easy when you can toss those guys on the wing for spacing. Add in 6-foot-10 Keegan Records — maybe the best big man in the Patriot League — and the puzzle really falls into place.
That all creates lanes for Tucker Richardson, a 1700+ point scorer at Colgate and the straw that stirs the Raiders’ drink.
Add on freshman guard Braeden Smith (not to be confused with Purdue freshman guard Braeden Smith) — who has posted 20-plus points five times in his first year as a Raider — and stopping this team seems impossible for their fellow Patriot League members.
In two cracks at Colgate this year, Lafayette lost by 12 on the road and despite 52% 3-point shooting by Colgate, lost by just four in the rematch at home. Those were valiant efforts against a team that went 15-1 and won its average Patriot League game by 11 points.
I’m going to stick to my guns. Fool me once, fool me twice, fool me a third time, I’ll bet against Lafayette again. Let’s commit to the bit.
Colgate has turned on another gear in the conference tournament, winning both games by more than 17 points.
I see no reason that stops here in the title game, with the clear best team in the conference running away with the title game in front of a rowdy home crowd.
Pick: Colgate -12 or Better
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