UC Irvine Men's Basketball 2019 NCAA Tournament Capsule


UC Irvine Anteaters

Big West (30-5, 15-1)

UC Irvine has finished first or second in the Big West every season since 2013-2014. However, they continually were disappointed in the conference tournament, making just one NCAA Tournament in 2015. But this year the Anteaters dominated their conference and it finally continued through the conference tournament. The Anteaters lost just one game against a Big West team and that was back on January 16th. They have not lost since.
Big Wins: 11/9 at Texas A&M (74-73), 11/28 at St. Mary’s (80-75), 12/8 Montana (60-51)
Bad Losses: 12/21 at Butler (54-71), 12/29 at Pacific (75-84), 1/16 Long Beach State (70-80)
Coach: Russell Turner
Why They Can Surprise:
The Anteaters have a squad that can outrebound just about anybody. Jonathan Galloway, a 6-10 senior, leads the team with 8.0 rebounds and 6-9 senior Elston Jones adds 6.8 per game. With Tommy Rutherford and Collin Welp adding more size to the roster, UC Irvine has the frontcourt depth and talent to not get overwhelmed by a traditionally big and strong power conference team. UC Irvine’s top scorers come from the perimeter. Max Hazzard and Evan Leonard are both superb outside shooters and it will be up to them to knock down shots and do a bulk of the scoring.
Why They Can Disappoint:
Eyassu Worku and John Edgar have missed some games recently and it could prove important to get them back for the NCAA Tournament. Worku is day-to-day with an injury and he does lead the team in assists. Getting another player on the floor who can create some offense will be very helpful. Edgar, who is out due to a team rules violation, would add some more size on the wing, but the Anteaters have done well without him for the last eight games. Still, depth and options are not a bad thing to have.
Probable Starters:
Max Hazzard, Junior, Guard, 12.5 ppg, 2.2 apg
Robert Cartwright, Senior, Guard, 6.8 ppg, 2.3 apg
Evan Leonard, Junior, Guard, 11.1 ppg, 2.5 rpg
Tommy Rutherford, Junior, Forward, 6.8 ppg, 4.4rpg
Jonathan Galloway, Senior, Forward, 7.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 1.1 bpg
Key Role Players:
Collin Welp, Freshman, Forward, 8.9 ppg, 4.4 rpg
Elston Jones, Senior, Forward, 5.7 ppg, 6.8 rpg
John Edgar, Junior, Forward, 6.4 ppg, 3.0 rpg
Eyassu Worku, Junior, Guard, 7.5 ppg, 2.8 apg
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 72.5 (179th in nation, 5th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 63.8 (22, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 45.5 (118, 4)
Field-Goal Defense: 38.0 (5, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.8 (262, 5)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.8 (108, 4)
Free-Throw Percentage: 68.6 (251, 7)
Rebound Margin: 7.4 (9, 1)
Assists Per Game: 13.4 (178, 4)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.0 (82, 4)
Recent Postseason Appearances:
2017NITFirst Round loss to Illinois State
2016CITFirst Round win over North Dakota
2016CITQuarterfinal win over Louisiana-Lafayette
2016CITSemifinal win over Coastal Carolina
2016CITChampionship loss to Columbia
2015NCAARound of 64 loss to Louisville
2014NITFirst Round loss to SMU
2013CITFirst Round win over High Point
2013CITSecond Round loss to Oral Roberts
*all team stats through 3/10