On the back of a 70-64 upset victory over the fourth-ranked Kansas State Wildcats, the #13 ranked UC Irvine Anteaters picked up the largest upset (at the time) of the NCAA tournament. The Big West champion Anteaters have put together one of the best seasons in the nation but were never truly tested with an elite level opponent.
Against Kansas State, they proved they are more than up to the task of hanging with some of the best Power-5 programs. UC Irvine didn’t just hit some lucky threes and pick up a fluke win, they matched Kansas blow for blow the entire game and more importantly, kept the rebound battle close despite playing against a more athletic team. Effective rebounding, efficient shooting, and ball security are what this UC Irvine team has been built on and they showed those skills translate regardless of who lines up against them (except maybe Duke).
The rest of the tournament has been put on notice that despite being a lowly 13th seed, UC Irvine is here to play.
Twitter Reaction to UC Irvine’s March Madness Upset over Kansas State
(Some include NSFW Audio)
Barstool Big Cat was caught kicking himself during a live stream from the FanDuel Sportsbook for not taking UC Irvine. You and me both buddy.
The official March Madness account jumped into the mix as well to announce the Anteaters had moved on to the next round.
ESPN’s Jeff Borzello kindly pointed out just how dominant UC Irvine has been so far this season.
ESPN’s Marc Spears also chimed in with an interesting fact that the Anteaters are now the only team left in the tournament from California.
The Athletic brought back up nightmares from last year where an unbelievable amount of top-seeded teams were knocked out of the tournament early on.
Reddit’s college basketball sub decided to poke a little fun at just how random of a mascot choice that an anteater is for UC Irvine’s athletic program.
Hawaii sports reporter Brian McInnis brought up memories of 2016 when the #13 ranked Hawaii Warriors took down the #4 seeded Cal Bears.
Other Notable 2019 March Madness Upsets
#10 Minnesota beats #7 Louisville
In a “revenge game” for disgraced former Louisville coach Rick Pitino’s son, Richard Pitino, his Golden Gophers dominated the Louisville Cardinals. Minnesota controlled the game from beginning to end in a statement win.
#12 Murray State beats #5 Marquette
Ja Morant did Ja Morant things and the game was never really in doubt. Behind a triple-double from their sophomore phenom, the Racers enter the second round of March Madness.
#10 Florida beats #7 Nevada
In an incredibly back and forth affair that saw Florida go up early only to watch their lead evaporate, Florida was able to hang on and survive against Nevada. Caleb Martin had a particularly bad night from the field and seemingly shot the Wolfpack out of the game.
#10 Iowa beats #7 Cincinnati
Starting off day two, Iowa was facing Cincinnati in what essentially was a home game for the Bearcats, yet came out victorious in a hard fought matchup. Despite numerous Cincinnati runs late, Iowa hit big shot after big shot to keep their head above water.
Source: New feed