INDIANAPOLIS – Colgate Men’s Basketball is ready for the national stage.
The Raiders (14-1, 11-1 PL) on Friday wrapped up their final day of preparations before taking the court against 3-seed Arkansas (22-6, 13-4 SEC) in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Friday at 12:45 p.m. Eastern at Bankers Life Fieldhouse – home of the Indiana Pacers.
SETTING THE SCENE
The 14th-seeded Colgate Raiders make their fourth NCAA tournament appearance when they tussle with #10 Arkansas in the first round on Friday. Colgate is the first team in Patriot League history to reach four consecutive championship games and punched its ticket to its second title in three years with an 85-72 win over Loyola on Sunday. Colgate carries a 13-game winning streak into the Big Dance, good for the third-longest win streak in the country. The Razorbacks had won nine in a row before falling to LSU in the SEC semifinals. Friday’s first round bout is the first meeting between the two programs.
WE SEE THE SEC
Colgate is dancing for the second time in three years, and once again the Raiders face an SEC foe in the first round of the NCAA tournament. In 2019, the 15th-seeded Raiders took Tennessee to the limit in a narrow 77-70 decision. Jordan Burns earned a CBS Shining Moment after connecting on eight treys and pouring in 32 against the Vols. The Raiders are 3-7 all-time against the SEC, with two of those wins against Tennessee. Colgate’s last win over an SEC foe came in 1995, a 53-51 victory over Ole Miss. The Patriot League is 1-4 in five March Madness meetings against SEC opponents. Bucknell defeated Arkansas 59-55 in the first round of the 2006 tournament.
The Raiders roll into Indy with the third-longest win streak in the country. Since its only loss of the season on Jan. 2, Colgate rattled off 13 straight wins, breaking the 2018-19 squad’s 11-game winning streak that carried into the NCAA tournament first round matchup with Tennessee. Only Gonzaga (21) and San Diego State (14) enter the tournament with longer winning streaks. Colgate connected on 50% (96-191) from the field in the Patriot League tournament and set a tournament scoring record with 105 points in the semifinal win over Bucknell, breaking its own record of 104 against Army in 1997.
14 CAN BE LUCKY, TOO
It’s well known that Colgate’s lucky number is 13. The Raiders’ 13th straight win was a 13-point victory over Loyola in the championship last Sunday. But can 14 be the lucky number this time? The 14th seed is the highest in four trips to the Dance for the Raiders, who look to become the first 14-3 upset since Stephen F. Austin over West Virginia in 2016. The longest drought without a 14-3 upset since the tournament expanded in 1985 is four years (2000- 04). Oddly enough, it was a PL team to end that gap with Bucknell’s 64-63 stunner over Kansas in 2005. No. 14 seeds are 21-119 all-time in the tournament.
THE LANGEL EFFECT
Head Coach Matt Langel has the Raiders in the midst of their best run in 121 years of Colgate Basketball. Langel in 2020 became the first coach in Patriot League history to earn three straight Coach of the Year awards. The 10th-year head coach guided Colgate to program-record win totals in three consecutive seasons from 2017-20, including back-to-back regular season championships and the program’s first two 20-win campaigns in 2018-19 and 2019-20. Over the last three seasons, Langel and the Raiders have a +47 win differential.
Friday’s first round game is nationally televised on truTV. Spero Dedes, and can be found on the airwaves on Westwood One, Sirius Channel 137, XM Channel 207, Radio Stream 967. Fans also can watch the game streaming live via NCAA.com.
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