UC Irvine and Oregon battle for Sweet 16 Cinderella slipper

Frank Doyle | Sat. Mar 23 2019, 04:03 pm

The UC Irvine Anteaters improved to 31-5 straight up and 21-13-1 against the spread this season following Friday’s win over Kansas State.

College basketball bettors are guaranteed a double-digit-seeded team in the Sweet 16 thanks to the efforts of No. 13 seed UC Irvine and No. 12 seed Oregon. The lone Round of 32 matchup of two double-digit seeds pits two of the hottest teams in the country against each other. The Ducks are soaring on a 9-0 win streak while the Anteaters haven’t lost since the middle of January.

UC Irvine is proving those that picked the program as this year’s Cinderella team right so far. The Anteaters improved to 31-5 straight up and 21-13-1 against the spread this season following Friday’s win over Kansas State. UC Irvine is undefeated in its last 17 games and 12-4-1 ATS during the same stretch. The Big West regular season and tournament champions 9-7 against the number versus non-conference opponents, and 8-1-1 ATS in their last 10 games overall.

Oregon comes into Sunday’s tilt on the heels of a 18-point win over Wisconsin as a 2-point underdog. The Ducks are 9-0 ATS during their unbeaten streak and 3-0-1 ATS in their last four contests in the Big Dance. The Pac-12 champions were a lucrative option for under bettors this season. Oregon have played below the over/under line in 24 of 36 games. The under didn’t cash in the game against Wisconsin, but it is still 12-3 in the Ducks’ last 15 matchups.

About 57 percent of Sports Interaction bettors are backing UC Irvine to cover as a 4.5-point underdog while the action is heavily one-sided for the game to go over the 124.5-point total.

March Madness bettors love UC Irvine Anteaters

The tiny school from the Big West won its first NCAA Tournament game by taking down Kansas State, a team that returned most of its starters from last year’s Elite Eight group. The Anteaters leading scorers and starting backcourt was at it again in the Round of 64. Max Hazzard and Evan Leonard scored 19 points a piece against the Wildcats on a combined 7-for-15 shooting from 3-point land. UC Irvine is allowing just 58.5 points per game over its last nine contests, but the over is 5-4 during the same stretch.

Oregon Ducks finding their way

Things are really cooking for the Ducks right now, but bettors shouldn’t be overly surprised. Oregon set out as the favourites to win the Pac-12 back in the fall and was a preseason top 15 ranked side. But a season-ending injury to leading scorer Bol Bol and a wretched run of results in early February, left Oregon with an ugly 15-12 record.  

The Ducks have found their identity with guard Payton Pritchard leading the way. The junior won the Pac-12 tournament MVP and he followed it up with a 19-point, eight-assist and five-rebound performance against Wisconsin.

UC Irvine vs. Oregon Prediction

Oregon 69-UC Irvine 61