DES MOINES, Iowa (KXAN) — If the second-seeded Texas Longhorns need to do one thing against the 15th-seeded Colgate Raiders in the first round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament Thursday, it’s to guard the 3-point line.
The Patriot League champs from Hamilton, New York let it fly from long range, and they’re the most accurate 3-point shooting team in Division I. The Raiders are 41% from downtown, hitting 283 of 694 shots in 34 games this season, and taking things a step further, they are an offensive juggernaut. The Raiders rank second in Division I in field goal percentage (51.4%) and effective field goal percentage (58.5%), and they share the ball extremely well. They rank third in assists per game with 18.6.
Longhorns interim head coach Rodney Terry won’t be fooled by the Raiders being a No. 15 seed.
“Obviously, they’re a conference champion, so they’re a really good team,” Terry said right after the draw came out. “We’ve been playing well over the last four games, we’ve had a lot of success in terms of really guarding and scoring throughout the course of the game. Our defense traveled for us this past week, and it’s no different than what we have to do in the NCAA tournament.
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Texas has defined itself as one of the country’s best defensive teams, and with an adjusted defensive efficiency of 92 points allowed per 100 possessions, they rank 11th in the country. Texas ranked 18th in the country in offensive efficiency with 116.6 points scored per 100 possessions, they have been one of the most balanced teams in that regard.
Colgate has five players averaging in double figures, so the Longhorns will certainly have their hands full. The Raiders are led by Tucker Richardson, a 6-foot-5 senior guard who averages 13.9 points and 5.8 assists per game with a 45% field goal percentage. Richardson was named the MVP of the Patriot League tournament and is a finalist for the Lou Henson Mid-Major Player of the Year award. He also won the league’s player of the year, defensive player of the year and scholar-athlete of the year.
Oliver Lynch-Daniels has been red-hot from 3-point range the entire season, shooting better than 50%. He’s made a team-high 77 3-pointers in 153 attempts and Ryan Moffatt has hit 62 of 136 3-point attempts. The Raiders are a threat to put up a 3-pointer at any time, so Texas’ perimeter defense must be tight to keep a huge upset from happening.
“Texas is playing really well having gotten through what’s generally considered the most competitive conference in the country,” Raiders head coach Matt Langel said. “They will be the best team that we’ve seen all season and we know going in that we have to play really well.”
Historically, a No. 15 seed has beaten the No. 2 seed 6% of the time in the first round, and two of those instances have come in the past two tournaments. Oral Roberts went all the way to the Sweet 16 in 2021 after topping No. 2 Ohio State in the opening round, and the Saint Peter’s Peacocks became the darlings of America after they dumped No. 2 Kentucky in last year’s first round.
The game tips off at 6:25 p.m. Thursday from Wells Fargo Arena. It will be broadcast on TBS.