There was no better feeling than the brackets finally being revealed on Selection Sunday. We are over a year removed from the NCAA Tournament being cancelled. That was one of the first dominos to fall as the sports world was shutdown and it has finally returned. We thoroughly enjoyed an abbreviated regular season of college basketball and some incredibly exciting conference tournaments, but it is finally time for the real deal. Our second game of the first round of March Madness comes in the form of Colgate versus Arkansas (12:45pm ET Friday; TV: Live on TruTV).
These are two of the most explosive offenses in the country, which should make for a fast paced shootout. The Colgate Raiders rank 2nd in average points scored per game (86.3) and Arkansas ranks 5th (82.4 ppg). Colgate is only behind Gonzaga when it comes to points scored per game. This game will feature the highest over/under of the first round and rightfully so. The current total is sitting at 161.5 points with the American sports betting bookies’ websites.
Colgate is led by Patriot League player of the year Jordan Burns while SEC Freshman of the Year Moses Moody anchors Arkansas. Burns averaged 17.0 points per game and led the team.
Both defenses have been lackluster for most of the year and rank in the bottom half of the NCAA. The Colgate defense leaves much to be desired. They rank 112th in the country in points allowed per game at 68.6. The Raiders allowed 70+ points in 8 of their 15 games against inferior Patriot League competition. The Arkansas defense is arguably worse statistically but they have also played much more formidable competition in the SEC than is found in the Patriot League. He was one of four players on Colgate to average double-digit points per game.
In their last three games in the conference tournament Colgate allowed 69 points, 75 points, and 72 points. They defeated Loyola Maryland 85-72 in the Patriot League Championship, which locked them into the tournament. Colgate only played within their conference during the regular season so they haven’t seen competition remotely close to what they face on Friday. Arkansas is one of the more athletic teams in the country and they play at a feverish pace. There is no one in the Patriot League that can simulate how the Arkansas Razorbacks play.
Freshman guard Moses Moody leads the way for the Razorbacks. Moody was a First team All-SEC honoree on top of being named Freshman of the Year. Colgate’s lackluster defense will have their hands full with Moody and the rest of the high-flying offense.
Arkansas has four players that average double digits per game. Moody leads the team with 17.4 points per game, junior guard JD Notae averages 13.3 points per game, forward Justin Smith averages 13.0 points per game and senior guard Jalen Tate adds 10.4 points per game. Smith leads the team in rebounds per game with 6.9 boards on average. I expect the Razorbacks to continue their explosive ways on offense and score at will.
Our Betting Preview’s Colgate vs Arkansas Predictions & Picks Verdict
We are going to be rolling with Eric Musselman’s Arkansas Razorbacks to cover the spread. Musselman led the Nevada Wolfpack to a sweet 16 berth and he looks to do the same with this skilled Razorbacks team. I think Arkansas is entirely too balanced for a Colgate team that has faced little to no competition. I think this will be quite competitive initially but that the Razorbacks will pull ahead to cover quite comfortably. This line has moved from -10 points to -8.5, which indicates some early action on the Colgate Raiders. I am happy to grab the lower number since I was comfortable playing them at -10 as well. Currently Colgate is getting 53% of the bets and 83% of the money.
I was also looking at the total, but it is quite high. I would be more comfortable playing the Arkansas team total over than the full game over. I don’t think the Raiders will be able to slow them down. I am more worried about Colgate scoring, which is why I would opt for the Razorbacks’ team total over. However this option isn’t showing at the major sportsbooks, so USA Betting will stick with the wager on the spread.
Arkansas’ defense ranks 14th in adjusted defensive efficiency. I think Arkansas’ athleticism and better defense will be able to limit Colgate enough and that their offense will be able to comfortably score enough to cover the spread. So our Colgate vs Arkansas predictions and one pick for this game is: