UC Irvine Men's Basketball 2015 NCAA Tournament Capsule

UC Irvine Anteaters
Big West (21-12, 11-5)


UC Irvine did not really impress early in the 2014-2015 campaign. However, by the time Big West play rolled around, the Anteaters were playing very good basketball. They ended up going 11-5 in conference play, tying for second behind UC Davis. Of course they are playing their best basketball right now, beating UC Riverside, UCSB and Hawaii in Anaheim to claim the conference tournament title.

Big Wins: 12/22 Green Bay (72-70), 1/24 at Hawaii (78-72), 3/13 vs UCSB (72-63)
Bad Losses: 12/13 Texas-Arlington (62-70), 12/16 at Morgan State (62-63), 2/14 at UC Riverside (63-70)
Coach: Russell Turner

Why They Can Surprise:
If the Anteaters have one thing, it is size. Mamadou Nidaye is a 7-6 center who can completely change a game when he is in it. Nidaye will only play about 20 minutes on a good day, but that is half the game when the opposition will not be able to get into the paint easily. Even when Ndiaye is not playing, UR Irvine has 7-2 Ioannis Dimakopoulos and 6-8 bruiser Will Davis II. Davis is the team’s top scorer and a very strong rebounder. Luke Nelson and Alex Young are both good scorers on the perimeter and those two also keep UC Irvine under control. This team is at its best when they slow things down and work through their big men and Nelson and Young are both smart players who take smart shots and make sure the big men get their touches.

Why They Can Disappoint:
The problem is the Anteaters do not always take full advantage of their size advantage. They barely get to the free-throw line and most of the team is not all that great at taking free-throws either. Their rebounding could be better too considering their size. With shooters like Nelson and Travis Souza, UC Irvine has enough offensive firepower to pull off an upset, but the issue will be on the other side of the floor where more talented teams can work the ball around Ndiaye and find a few easy buckets and open looks on the perimeter.

Probable Starters:
Luke Nelson, Sophomore, Guard, 10.5 ppg, 4.0 apg
Alex Young, Junior, Guard, 9.6 ppg 3.6 apg
Travis Souza, Senior, Guard, 7.4 ppg, 1.5 apg,
Will Davis II, Senior, Forward, 12.9 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 1.0 bpg
Mamadou Ndiaye, Sophomore, Center, 10.4 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 1.7 bpg

Key Roleplayers:
Mike Best, Junior, Forward, 3.4 ppg, 2.3 rpg
Ioannis Dimakopoulos, Sophomore, Center, 3.9 ppg
Jaron Martin, Sophomore, Guard, 6.8 ppg, 1.5 apg
Aaron Wright, Junior, Guard, 3.6 ppg, 1.6 apg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 67.9 (145th in nation, 4th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 62.6 (77, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.4 (54, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 39.8 (43, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.5 (152, 5)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 39.7 (15, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 69.5 (155, 4)
Rebound Margin: 1.5 (133, 3)
Assists Per Game: 14.2 (68, 2)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.8 (96, 3)

Recent Postseason Appearances:
2014    NIT    First Round loss to SMU
2013    CIT    First Round win over High Point
2013    CIT    Second Round loss to Oral Roberts

*all team stats through 3/8


See All Men’s Basketball Postseason Capsules