Patriot League Championship Odds, Picks: The Spread Bet to Make for Navy vs. Colgate (Wednesday, March 9)
Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images. Pictured: Matt Langel (Colgate)
- The Navy Midshipmen take on the Colgate Raiders in the Patriot League Tournament Championship on Wednesday night.
- The Raiders enter as relatively large favorites with a spot in the NCAA Tournament on the line.
- Check out Shane McNichol's full betting break down and top pick for the Patriot League title game below.
Navy vs. Colgate Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
The two best teams in the Patriot League have survived the perils of the conference tournament and will meet for a third time this season. A game between two very capable squads becomes even more intriguing with an NCAA Tournament bid on the line.
Navy looks to secure its first trip to the Big Dance in the 21st century, while Colgate is on the precipice of building a dynasty in the Patriot League. This would be the Raiders third Patriot League Tournament title in four years, matching their number of regular-season league crowns in that span.
Colgate has lost just once since Jan. 5 and looks primed for a spot in the NCAA Tournament, leaving Navy with a tough test Wednesday night.
Navy’s Defense vs. Colgate’s Offense
Fans have to be happy with this matchup in the title game. These are the two best teams in the conference, in large part because of the two best “units” in the conference: Navy’s defense and Colgate’s offense.
The Midshipmen have the 54th-ranked defense in the nation, per KenPom. The next best defense in the conference is ranked outside the top 200.
Prior to losing at Colgate in the regular-season finale, Navy went nine straight games without allowing an opponent to top 63 total points or 0.98 points per possession.
Navy used its athleticism and defensive communication to lead the Patriot League in forcing turnovers, blocking shots and effective field goal percentage allowed.
That defense will have its hands full against a potent Colgate offense. The Raiders spread the ball out, stretching defenses with dead-eye shooters dotted around the perimeter.
Colgate has shot the second best 3-point percentage in college basketball this season, topping 40%. Only 19 teams in the nation score a higher percentage of their points from outside the arc than the Raiders.
That shooting is great on its own, but it also opens up space for leading scorer Nelly Cummings to drive off the bounce, or for big man Keegan Records to operate in the post.
The Battle in The Paint
Navy’s defense is a marvel considering how little size Ed DeChellis has to work with on his roster. Navy doesn’t start anyone over 6-foot-7 and doesn’t play anyone over 6-foot-8.
In most Patriot League matchups, Navy center Richard Njoku is plenty big enough to compete on the block.
Against Colgate, that is a tougher task. Records is 6-foot-10 and a double-figure nightly scorer. The first time these teams met this season in Annapolis, Records tied a career-high with 25 points, doing so on just 13 shots from the field.
When the teams met again in Hamilton in the season-closing game, Records battled foul trouble. He played only 19 minutes and took just three attempts from the field.
When Records leaves the floor, opponents find a much easier path to buckets in the paint.
According to on/off data from Hoop Explorer, Colgate allows just 98.7 points per 100 possessions with Records on the court, yet the Raiders allow 111.8 points per 100 possessions when he sits, with a much higher rate of sending opponents to the free throw line.
If Records stays healthy and out of foul trouble, he can be the difference maker in this game.
Navy vs. Colgate Betting Pick
As much as I’d like to see Navy become the first of our nation’s service academies to reach the NCAA Tournament since Air Force in 2004, this is a tough spot for the Mids.
Colgate has taken a stranglehold over the Patriot League in the last four years, but especially this season. The Raiders have won 14 straight in conference — all as a favorite — and covered the spread in nine of those contests.
Extend that streak further and the numbers pop out even more. Colgate is 17-1 overall and 12-6 ATS since Jan. 10, with 14 of those wins coming by a double-figure margin. The Raiders haven’t lost a home game since November.
Navy’s defense is really good for a team at this level, especially when you factor in the difficulty recruiting to a service academy and the lack of size on the Midshipmen roster.
That defense can keep the Mids competitive for a while, but Colgate will eventually be too much. The Raiders as a single-digit favorite is a must bet for me.
Pick: Colgate -9.5 or better
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