UC Irvine vs Kansas State Preview

UC Irvine vs Kansas State
(Charlie Riedel/AP Photo)

Winners of 16 consecutive games, with an average margin of victory of 14.3 points the UC Irvine Anteaters (30-5) are a popular upset pick and for good reason. But they will need a lot better showing than they had a season ago when these teams met in non-conference play.

K-State defeated UC Irvine 71-49 last season at Bramlage Coliseum. Wildcats guard Bobby Brown isn’t taking that result or anything for granted:

“I respect them,” Brown said. “They have 30 wins this year they are a good team. It is all about respecting them and understanding they have everyone back from last year. We just got to go into the game understanding they could beat us and it is all about surviving and advancing, win or go home, do everything right. So we have to be ready to play.”

K-State put on a defensive clinic, holding all 11 UC Irvine players who saw action below double digits. Center Brad Greene, who hasn’t played this season, came off the bench to lead UC Irvine with nine points.

Kamau Stokes led K-State with 14 points in 28 minutes, while Xavier Sneed had 12 and Cartier Diarra added 10. Barry Brown only had five points in that game (that won’t happen this Friday).

The Wildcats made their living at the three-point line, making 9 of 19 perimeter shots. But they struggled from two-point range, going 15 for 42.

Who has UC Irvine played?

This question is asked all the time about mid-major programs that aren’t well-known come tourney time.

The vast majority of UC Irvine’s wins came against other mid-majors, but they did beat Texas A&M in November, as well as NCAA Tournament teams Montana and Saint Mary’s. An argument could be made this team was underseeded. It has a KenPom rating of 75, which is better than at-large teams Temple and St. John’s.

The Anteaters are averaging 72.3 points, while making 45.5 percent of their shots from the field and 35.3 percent of their shots from three. But they can score in bunches. They reached 92 points in the Big West Tournament final and beat Cal Poly 110-72. Their season-low of 54 points came during a December loss at Butler. Junior guard Max Hazzard (12.5 points) is the team’s leading scorer.

Injury Update

Sadly, there isn’t a real update we can provide concerning KSU’s Dean Wade‘s availability. But the all-conference performer will likely miss at least this first round matchup against the Anteaters.

If Wade is unable to go, Kansas State head coach Bruce Weber does not know his starting lineup.

Prediction

LINE: -5 Kansas State

O/U: 119

Dan’s Bet: Over 119

Bracket Pick: UC Irvine

Score Prediction: UC Irvine 69 Kansas State 65

Dan Schalk
Find Me

Dan Schalk

Dan Schalk is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief for MFST and can be heard weekly on the 'My Fantasy Podcast'. He is likely watching Seinfeld right now, not that there's anything wrong with that.
Dan Schalk
Find Me

Latest posts by Dan Schalk (see all)

https://i0.wp.com/www.myfantasysportstalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/UC-Irvine-Kansas-St-Basketball2.jpg?fit=1024%2C811&ssl=1https://i0.wp.com/www.myfantasysportstalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/UC-Irvine-Kansas-St-Basketball2.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1Dan SchalkBig 12Big WestNCAABRecent PostsBig 12,Big West,College Basketball,Kansas State Wildcats,March Madness,NCAA Tournament,UC Irvine Anteaters,UC Irvine vs Kansas StateUC Irvine vs Kansas State Preview Winners of 16 consecutive games, with an average margin of victory of 14.3 points the UC Irvine Anteaters (30-5) are a popular upset pick and for good reason. But they will need a lot better showing than they had a season ago when these...