Texas is cramming to get to know Tucker Richardson and Colgate as the Longhorns prepare for the No. 15 seed in the Midwest Region and a Thursday night NCAA Tournament first-round matchup in Des Moines, Iowa.
Richardson had 14 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists in Colgate’s Patriot League championship game, becoming the only Division I player with a triple-double in a conference title game over the last 25 seasons.
Texas (26-8) and Colgate (26-8) play before seventh-seeded Texas A&M meets 10th-seeded Penn State, and the winners will play Saturday.
Interim head coach Rodney Terry said the second-seeded Longhorns aren’t looking ahead at old rival A&M, or to the top of the Midwest bracket at Houston.
“Colgate will be on our minds, and that’s what we’re going to start working on,” Terry said.
Terry, who replaced head coach Chris Beard on Dec. 12 following the domestic violence arrest that led to his dismissal at UT, also insists he’s not worried about peeling off the interim label from his coaching title.
“I always tell our guys, live where your feet are, live in the present,” Terry said. “This team has been on an incredible journey. I’ve enjoyed being with them on this incredible journey. We’re going to try to go as far as we can. Really, that’s been my focus the entire time.”
Texas has potent senior guards with Marcus Carr leading the team in scoring at 15.9 points per game and Sir’Jabari Rice close behind. Rice has five 20-point games in the Longhorns’ last 13 outings.
Both teams launch 3-pointers at a liberal clip, with Colgate shooting 41 percent on the season and averaging 78.6 points per game. Texas shoots 34 percent from deep and averages 77.9 points.
It’s the fourth NCAA Tournament appearance in five years for Colgate, but the Raiders are 0-3 in those first-round games. Coach Matt Langel said he will have Colgate ready after winning 20 of its past 21 games entering Thursday’s date with the Big 12 tournament champion Longhorns.
“You’re gonna have to finish plays at the rim, make open shots, be connected on the offensive end and run good offense against a team that’s athletically and size-wise different from what you’ve been playing against,” Langel said.
The Raiders are attempting to repeat the run of No. 15 Saint Peter’s in 2022, and know Oral Roberts also advanced from the 15 line in 2021. Saint Peter’s was the first 15 to get past the Sweet 16 on a run that began by knocking off Kentucky.
A win over Texas would make Colgate the 11th No. 15 seed to advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. No. 15 seeds have a 10-138 record against second-seeded teams.
Texas last won two games in the NCAA Tournament to advance to the Sweet 16 in 2008.
–Field Level Media