Under the Radar Game of the Day: Wooden Legacy Fifth Place Game: UC-Irvine vs Evansville, 2:30 PM Eastern, ESPNU
For today’s News, Notes and Highlighted Games, CLICK HERE.
The Under the Radar Game of the Day heads to Anaheim, California today for the first of the four final round games at the Wooden Legacy, the Fifth Place Game between UC-Irvine and Evansville (for TV purposes the Seventh Place Game is not played until this evening). The Big West’s UC-Irvine Anteaters enter today’s game with a record of 5-1 on the season, including a win at Central Florida and a win in the consolation bracket of this event two days ago against Boston College. Their lone loss was in the quarterfinals against Boise State. They are led down low by Mamadou Ndiaye, the 7-6 beast who can change any team’s gameplan and dominate inside any night. His presence down low is one of the key reasons that the Anteaters are among the favorites to capture the Big West title this season.
Today’s opponent for UCI is the Missouri Valley Conference’s Evansville Aces. Evansville enters the game with a record of 4-1, including a nice home court victory over Belmont and a consolation round win over a Santa Clara team that had taken Arizona to the wire a few nights ago. Their lone loss came in the quarterfinals of this event as well, by 10 points to Providence. The Aces are led by one of the top mid-major guards in the country, DJ Balentine, who but for Baker and VaanVleet at Wichita State, might be the best player in the conference. Balentine dropped 23 points on Santa Clara last time out and is more than capable of equaling or topping that number against UCI today. A win today on national TV will help get the Aces more attention, especially with Wichita off to a slow start this season, and we still firmly believe this is a team more than capable of making the Big Dance this year, even if they do not get the conference’s automatic bid.