The Oregon Ducks and the UC-Irvine Anteaters meet in NIT college basketball action from the Matthew Knight Arena on Wednesday night.
Oregon Ducks Team Preview
The Oregon Ducks come into this one after posting an 18-13 mark this season with a 12-8 record in Pac-12 conference play. The Ducks would take out Washington State in the quarterfinals before falling to UCLA in the semis. N’Faly Dante leads the Ducks in scoring and rebounding with 13.4 PPG and 8.4 RPG while Jermaine Couisnard has 12.8 PPG and Will Richardson has 12.2 PPG with a team-high 5.1 APG to lead the Ducks in assists and to round out the group of double-digit scorers for Oregon so far this year. As a team, Oregon is averaging 70.7 PPG on 44.9% shooting from the field, 31.9% from three and 70.9% from the foul line this season.
UC-Irvine Anteaters Team Preview
The UC-Irvine Anteaters come into the tournament off of a 23-11 regular season including a 15-5 mark in Big West conference play, earning a share of the Big West regular season title. The Anteaters got the #1 seed, taking out Cal State Bakersfield before falling to CSU-Fullerton in the semifinals. Dawson Baker leads the Anteaters in scoring with 15.3 PPG while DJ Davis has 15.2 PPG as the only other double-digit scorer for UC-Irvine up to this point. Devin Tillis has a team-high 6.1 RPG to lead UC-Irvine on the glass while Pierre Crockrell II has a team-high 5 APG. As a team, UC-Irvine is averaging 75.3 PPG on 47.2% shooting from the field, 38.4% from three and 72% from the foul line this season.
UC-Irvine is 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games overall and 5-1 ATS in their last 6 road games following three or more consecutive home games while the under is 6-2 in their last 8 road games. Oregon is 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games overall and 5-2-1 ATS in their last 8 home games while the over is 13-3-1 in their last 17 games following a loss.
I’m backing the Anteaters here. UC-Irvine is a solid team and is no pushover and you could argue that the Anteaters are one of the best mid-majors in the country that isn’t in the NCAA tournament. Oregon has a talented roster, and with a roster with a few seniors I think they could show up and put forth a solid showing here. The problem is I have to call into question just how much motivation Oregon has here. I’m sure they’d like revenge after UC-Irvine beat them in this same building in November, but that also has to give Irvine some confidence that they can do it again. I’ll take a shot with the Anteaters and the points.