BANKER (Columbia vs. Colgate)
A little surprised that Colgate is this heavily favored after their recent play. Colgate has really been struggling on the defensive side of the ball lately as they’ve given up 74 to northeastern, 70 to Niagara, and 89 to Harvard. They lost all 3 of these games and were favorites in each one of them. Colgate has a lot of talent as they are 67th in the nation in adjusted offensive efficiency 73rd in the nation in 3P percentage.
I like Columbia in this spot simply because I don’t think Colgate is playing well enough defensively to string together stops which would lead to a blowout. In 9 games so far this season, Columbia has scored over 60 points in all but one. They’ve also only allowed more than 80 points twice in 9 games as well. Columbia is led by freshman Geronimo Rubio De La Rosa who is averaging 14/3/3 on 41% shooting and big man Liam Murphy averaging 13/5/1 on 41% shooting and 37% from deep.
Columbia is also coming off probably their most solid game of the season in a double-digit win over Maine where they really defended at a high level holding them to 40% shooting. Columbia also played Boston college, Fordham, and Lehigh very well on the road as they only lost these games by 13, 10 and 7 points. Bottom line here is that I think this line is way too steep considering the state of both teams coming into this one.
Colgate lacks an identity on defense as they have given up a ton of points lately to below average offensive teams and Columbia is a team who can put points in a hurry if they get hot from the outside. I think this line should be closer to 15/16 so I see a lot of value here getting Columbia at over 20 points. Score Prediction: Colgate 84-69
New Mexico State is a team that I have written about before and I’m now jumping on their train. They have been very impressive to start the year, both with winning/covering by larger margins and by winning/covering in closer matchups where production in clutch situations was needed and they delivered. New Mexico State won their last game on a buzzer beater 3 from talented guard Jabari Rice who is averaging 14/4/4 on 45% shooting and 37% from deep.
This is an interesting matchup as NMSU already played and lost to New Mexico last week 101-94 in a game where they were 10.5-point favorites. I think the revenge factor is real here as I anticipate New Mexico State making the necessary adjustments on the defensive end to hold down New Mexico. New Mexico won their first true road game against UTEP, and I think the revenge factor outweighs the home court advantage for New Mexico here.
Both teams have somewhat struggled defensively to this point, but I believe New Mexico State has played the tougher schedule as they have solid wins over UC Irvine, Davidson, and Utep x2 and I believe this tougher schedule has them more prepared for this game. Score prediction: NMSU 81-74
Mercer is a team who I have bet on and against quite frequently over the past few years. They are a team who usually plays very well in specific situations and narratives. One situation that they typically play well in is in the underdog role. Mercer is 3-1 ATS as an underdog this season with one being an impressive cover on the road at Arkansas. They are facing a team in Coastal Carolina who has been playing well lately but against a lesser schedule.
Coastal has wins over D2 Ferrum, Valpo, a weak South Carolina team, and Winthrop who has gone through a coach and roster overhaul. Bottom line here is that I think the wrong team is favored but I think Mercer will play up to their tendencies and give a great effort here as an underdog and come away with the win. Score prediction: 72-65 Mercer.