College Basketball action on Sunday afternoon and the Missouri Valley Conference will square off with the Big Sky Conference as the Drake Bulldogs duke it out with the Northern Colorado Bears at Bank of Colorado Arena in Greeley, Colorado in the 2nd round of the College Insider Tournament. The Bulldogs took out Abilene Christian by a score of 80-73 in OT in the first round, while the Bears had a bye in the first round after falling 91-89 in OT to Montana in the finals over the Big Sky Tournament.
Bulldogs Outlast Abilene Christian In OT
The Drake Bulldogs lost their final two games of the regular season and then they were ousted in the first round of the MVC Tournament. They did not come into the CIT with momentum, but they shook off their late-season woes by taking down Abilene Christian in the first round by a score of 80-73 in OT. The game was tied at the have and again at the end of regulation, so it was nip-and-tuck all the way through and the Bulldogs put the game away in OT as they outscored AC by a score of 11-4 in the extra session. They did not play well on offense as they hit just 38.5% of their shots from the field overall, including just 24.0% of their shots from long range, but they did hit 24 of their 29 attempts from the free throw line. They outscored the Wildcats 24-3 at the charity stripe and that was key. Leading their attack in the game was Ore Arogundade (6.9 ppg), who had 25, while Nick McGlynn (11.4 ppg) had 22 to round out their double-digit scorers in the game. The defense did play well in the game as they allowed the Wildcats to hit just 37.2% of their shots from the field overall, including just 19.4% of their shots from long range, while also forcing 16 turnovers in the game. Their defense has not been great overall and will be up against a very good offense in this one.
The Bulldogs have been an average offensive team this year as they enter this contest ranked 172nd in the nation in scoring, putting up 73.8 ppg, while also ranking 220th in shooting (43.8%), 96th in 3-point shooting (36.6%) and 17th in free throw shooting (77.4%). At the defensive end of the court, they have below average this year as they enter this contest ranked 196th in the nation in points allowed, giving up just 73.2 ppg, while also ranking 243rd in defensive FG% (45.0%) and 87th in 3-point defense (33.2%).
Bears Nearly Made It To The Big Dance
The Northern Colorado Bears won four of their last five games to end the regular season and then they won their 1st two games of the Big Sky Tournament. They then took on top-seeded Montana in the finals and came up just a bit short as they fell by a score of 91-89 in OT. It would have been their 2nd ever trip to the Big Dance. Their first trip was back in 2011. Well, they had to settle for the CIT and they will try and make the most of it. They have been led by their offense this year and that offense had a really good showing against the Grizzlies as they hit 55.9% of their shots from the field overall, including 63/6% of their shots from long range, but they did miss 10 free throws in the game and that was costly. Had they hit their free throws, then they would be in the Big Dance. Turnovers were also an issue as they committed 15 of them while forcing just seven. Leading their attack in the game was Andre Spight (21.9 ppg), who had 22, while Jordan Davis (15.8 ppg) had 18, Jalen Sanders (9.7 ppg) had 16 and Jonah Radebaugh (8.0 ppg) had 10. The defense wasn’t great as they allowed the Grizzlies to hit 47.9% of their shots from the field overall, but they did allow them to knock down just one of their six attempts from long range.
Northern Colorado has been very good on offense this year as they enter this contest ranked 43rd in the nation in scoring, putting up 80.5 ppg, while also ranking 71st in shooting (46.7%), 144th in 3-point shooting (35.6%) and 254th in free throw shooting (69.5%). At the defensive end of the court, they have been very good this year as they enter this contest ranked 16th in the nation in points allowed, giving up just 64.7 ppg, while also ranking 15th in defensive FG% (40.3%) and 59th in 3-point defense (32.8%).
- 2-5 ATS in their last seven games following a straight up win
- 0-4 ATS in their last four road games following three or more consecutive home games
Northern Colorado is:
- 7-0-1 ATS in their last eight non-conference games
- 20-8-1 ATS in their last 29 games overall
Drake did not play well down the stretch and they were just 4-10 in true road games this year, while the Bears did play well down the stretch and have gone a solid 11-3 here at home. The Bears have been very strong on offense and Drake has been below average on defense. I just don’t see them slowing this Northern Colorado offense down that has averaged 85.5 ppg over their last eight games. The Bulldogs also won’t have enough offense to keep pace in this one, especially since they have averaged just 65.5 ppg over their last five games in regulation. I will look for the Bears to win this one by at least 12 points.