Colgate vs. Wisconsin Odds, Picks, Predictions: How To Bet This First-Round NCAA Tournament Spread
Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images. Pictured: Johnny Davis (Wisconsin)
- Will Wisconsin's luck run out when it faces Colgate in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday night?
- Our experts are betting on the Badgers to at least struggle to cover the spread against the Raiders.
- Find their picks and predictions for 3-seeded Wisconsin vs. 14-seeded Colgate based on the odds below.
Colgate vs. Wisconsin Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
By D.J. James
The Colgate Raiders are paired with the Wisconsin Badgers for what should be an interesting duel in the Round of 64 of the NCAA Tournament.
Johnny Davis did not perform well offensively in the last game for the Badgers against the Michigan State Spartans. He injured his ankle in the final outing of the regular season against Nebraska, and has not looked the same since.
This injury is key to how the Badgers will turn out in the Big Dance. For one, per ShotQuality, they are one of the most isolation-heavy teams in the country. Much of this has to do with Davis, and he will dictate the success of this team. Otherwise, the Badgers have to deviate from their offensive plans.
In addition, Colgate is no slouch. The Raiders may struggle defensively, but this does not always matter when teams are knocking down shots. They rank second in Catch & Shoot 3s (ShotQuality).
Wisconsin does not defend the arc too well. It ranks 213th in this category on defense. The Raiders will be able to score at will, regardless of if Davis is playing or not. They could even win outright if they can limit their defensive mistakes.
Ignoring the quality of opponents, Colgate is one of the hottest teams coming into the NCAA Tournament. The Raiders have lost just once since Jan. 5.
That winning streak has been fueled by outside shooting. Colgate is the second-best 3-point shooting team in the nation, trailing only South Dakota State.
Since the start of December, Colgate has made 42% of its deep balls as a team. Obviously that is great at face value, yet that shooting also opens so many doors for this offense.
Nelly Cummings is a great driver of the basketball, made better by the amount of space created by his can’t-miss teammates on the perimeter. The same goes for other Colgate players who aren’t as fleet of foot — they find much more open space thanks to potential help defenders glued to 3-point shooters.
The Raiders will struggle on the glass and defensively due to a lack of athleticism, but the hope — as with so many Cinderellas before them — is to counterbalance those shortcomings by making it rain from downtown.
Colgate dominated the Patriot League because it could match talent with any other roster in the conference and outshoot them from long range.
Against better opponents, the shooting needs to shine. Just ask Syracuse — Colgate hung 100 points on 1.37 points per possession by hitting 18-of-43 from 3 in a win at the Carrier Dome.
Is Davis healthy?
Because he sure didn’t look healthy in the Big Ten Tournament loss to Michigan State. He finished 3-for-19 (15.7%) from the field and 0-for-5 from 3. He managed to scrape together six free throws and 11 rebounds, but he also committed three turnovers and four fouls.
If Davis isn’t 100%, Wisconsin is doomed. The Badgers play solid defense and have solid guard play between Chucky Hepburn and Brad Davison. But without Davis, there is no consistent scoring option.
Davis was inefficient scoring this season, but he was high usage, so some of that is forgiven. But outside of offensive turnover rate — where the Badgers are second — Wisconsin was way below average in offensive efficiency. It finished 260th in eFG% (48.2%) this season.
Colgate is an intriguing matchup for the Badgers. Wisconsin runs a lot of iso-ball with Davis and Davison, and Colgate is bad in isolation defense.
Meanwhile, Colgate moves the ball like crazy, and Wisco has some weaknesses in ball-screen sets and against catch-and-shoot 3-pointers.
But, again, if Davis isn’t 100% healthy, the Badgers are doomed.
Colgate vs. Wisconsin Betting Pick
By D.J. James
Much of the Badgers’ success in the tournament rests on Davis’ injury. If he is forcing it, the offense on the Badgers’ end of the floor will have trouble — like it did against Michigan State.
If this is the case, it is not absurd to say Wisconsin’s luck could run out. After all, it ranks ninth in KenPom’s luck rating, so some close wins easily could have turned out another way throughout the season.
Look for the Raiders to cover this number. A sprained ankle for Davis says that he will at least be somewhat limited on offense.
Colgate should get plenty of open shot opportunities, and if it’s knocking down 3s, Wisconsin and its slower-paced offensive attack will need to speed up and find a way to squeak out a close victory.
Pick: Colgate +7.5 (Play to +6.5)
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