Navy vs. Colgate Prediction: Colgate Looks To Complete Dominant Season in Patriot League Championship

College basketball expert Mike Spector offers his best bet for the Patriot League Championship between the Navy Midshipmen and Colgate Raiders.
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The Patriot League Tournament Championship is a fitting matchup between the two best teams in the league. It also has an interesting storyline, as one team has been a fixture in the championship round for the last four years, while the other makes its first championship game appearance in 21 years. 

Colgate makes its fourth consecutive conference championship appearance, winning in 2019 but losing in 2018 and 2020. Meanwhile, Navy makes its first championship appearance since losing back-to-back finals in 2000 and 2001. In addition, the Midshipmen search for their first conference tournament championship and NCAA Tournament berth since 1998.

Will ending a long tournament drought motivate the Midshipmen and help them pull the upset? Or will the Raiders’ talent and experience win out?

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Here are our picks and predictions for the Patriot League Tournament Championship between the Navy Midshipmen and Colgate Raiders.

Colgate comes into this game on a 14-game winning streak, the third-longest active streak in Division I. The Raiders have lost just once since January 10th, and just two of their 17 wins in that span have been by fewer than eight points. The Raiders have been equally dominant against Navy, winning six consecutive head-to-head matchups and nine of the last ten. In addition, just one of the most recent six wins has been by fewer than five points.

How Colgate won this year’s two regular-season meetings against Navy should inspire confidence in Raiders backers tonight. Colgate won the first meeting by 19 points despite shooting just 3-for-20 from 3-point range. And in the regular-season finale, Colgate bullied its way to the free-throw line for 31 attempts, getting several key Midshipmen in foul trouble in the process. Perhaps most importantly, Colgate committed just 19 total turnovers in the two meetings, which is impressive considering Navy turns opponents over on a league-best 20.9% of possessions.

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Conversely, nothing about Navy’s offense is inspiring enough to have confidence that the Midshipmen can keep pace tonight. Navy ranks eighth or worse in the league in many offensive categories, including adjusted offensive efficiency (per KenPom), effective field goal percentage, turnover percentage, and 2-point percentage. In addition, Navy shoots free throws collectively at a league-worst 64.5%, which could be their undoing in a tight game. Case in point, Navy shot just 9-for-20 (45%) from the free-throw line in their five-point road loss to the Raiders.

Colgate ranks 40th in Division I in terms of experience on their roster and is in the top ten in minutes continuity, returning 80% of their production from last year. That will pay huge dividends tonight, especially with many of their returning players looking to avenge last year’s three-point loss in the finals to Boston University.

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It is difficult to beat a team three times in a season, but we expect experience to win out tonight, as the pressure of ending Navy’s 24-year tournament drought will weigh on them heavily. Tonight feels like a coronation for the most dominant Patriot League team all season, and we will gladly lay the points with the more talented and experienced Raiders.

PICK: COLGATE -6.5 (-110) (Bet $110 to Win $100)

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Mike Spector brings unmatched knowledge and insight into the game of football, and more importantly the process of betting on NFL football. Mike is the #2 ranked expert in FantasyPros' NFL betting contest

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