The Tennessee Volunteers secured a No. 2 seed in the 2019 NCAA Tournament, narrowly missing out on the top line for the first time in school history. After a big win on Saturday against Kentucky, the nothing went right for the Vols on Sunday against Auburn.
Tennessee ended up with the Patriot League champion Colgate Raiders as their first round opponent. Who are they? Let’s figure that out.
Yep. There’s toothpaste involved.
WE GOTTA PLAY TOOTHPASTE?!? pic.twitter.com/92fvzI9hxz— The Other Matt Brown (@MattSBN) March 17, 2019
Let’s brush up on some history. (I’m sorry)
William Colgate founded what would become the Colgate toothpaste company in 1806. For 70 years, he and his family financially supported the Hamilton Literary and Theological Institution. Eventually his support was recognized as the school was renamed Colgate University in 1890.
So yes, Tennessee is kind of playing toothpaste in round one.
Colgate shoots — and makes — a lot of threes.
The best 3-point shooting team in college basketball since Feb. 1 is … Colgate.— Wes Rucker (@wesrucker247) March 17, 2019
After playing Auburn twice in two weeks, this is the last thing Tennessee fans wanted to hear. The Vols have struggled defending the three-point line all year. They won’t get a break from that in their first round matchup.
According to KenPom, Colgate has the 63rd rated offense in country. They make 38.3 percent of their shots from outside the arc, good for 23rd in the country. They’re in the upper third of three-point attempts on the year, ranking 94th heading into the NCAA Tournament.
Patriot League Champions
The Raiders won their league championship tournament to advance to the big dance, beating Bucknell 94-80. Colgate shared the regular season title with Bucknell, each finishing with a 13-5 record in league play. Colgate
Results against big schools
at Syracuse: Loss, 77-56
at USF: Loss, 73-63
at Penn State: Loss, 76-65
at Pitt: Loss, 68-54
Key Players and Stats
6-10 forward Rapolas Ivanauskas is the first cog of Colgate’s offensive attack, averaging over 16 points per game and shooting 43 percent from deep. He’s also the team’s leading rebounder, grabbing nearly eight boards per contest. Ivanauskas will challenge both Grant Williams and Kyle Alexander on the defensive end.
Six-foot-nothing guard Jordan Burns is a guy that can flat go off. He did just that in Colgate’s tournament championship win over Bucknell. The sophomore guard poured in 35 points, shooting 6-9 from three-point range.
Burns’ game log is a rollercoaster ride. He scored five points in the previous game against Navy, then just ten points against Boston. However, he’s scored 20+ points in nine games this year, including two 30 points performances. Colgate will need him locked in if they want to think about pulling the upset on Friday.
6-8 forward Will Rayman — another big who can shoot — is Colgate’s third leading scorer and second leading rebounder. He put up 26 points against Boston just three games ago, shooting 6-11 from three-point range.
If you can’t tell there’s a theme here. Colgate can space the floor with capable shooters. That’s something that Tennessee has struggled with this season — just look at Auburn for an example.
Expect them to make shots on Friday, but their defense could be their downfall. Colgate checks in at 236th in KenPom’s defensive efficiency rankings. They give up 70 points per game, ranking mid-pack in D-1. Odds are, they won’t have any answers for Grant Williams, Jordan Bone and Admiral Schofield.
But the Raiders shouldn’t be taken lightly.