UC Irvine

Location: Irvine, CA

Conference: Big West

Mascot: Anteaters

Coach: Russell Turner

Record: 21-13 (11-5, Big West)

Kenpom ranking: 94

Good wins (Kenpom ranking): Green Bay (69) UC Santa Barbara x2 (110) Hawaii x2 (122)

Bad losses (Kenpom ranking): @ Morgan State (337) @ UC Riverside (223) UT Arlington (199)

Tournament appearances: One! This one!

Best result: n/a

NBA alumni: Scott Brooks

Best name: Mamadou N'Diaye

Famous alumni: Jon Lovitz, Aubrey O'Day (Remember Danity Kane?), Michael Chabon

The Anteaters are going dancing for the first time ever! A D-I member since 1977, UC-Irvine was a perennial loser when Warriors assistant Russell Turner took over. He assembled a bizarre melange of talent, epitomized by 7'6 Senegalese sophomore Mamadou N'diaye. He missed most of the year with a foot injury, but the team won 5-of-7, including the Big West tourney, after his return.

Style of play: "From up here, they look like ants. Let's eat them."

UC-Irvine is as long as the proboscis and tongue of its noble anteater mascot. And it's not just N'diaye: There's 7'2 Greek center Ionnis Dimakopolous, 6'10 Fresno State transfer John Ryan, 6'10 junior Mike Best, 6'8 leading scorer and rebounder Will Davis... they're tall. They block shots and make life very difficult for opposing offenses, and rarely get blocked.


Basketball is a sport populated by abnormally large humans. N'diaye makes these humans look like flailing younger brothers, vainly attempting to beat their older bro in a game of bedroom Nerf basketball. He's very clumsy, prefers to remain stationary, and has injury concerns... but HE'S 7'6. He swats shots without thinking, and tosses the ball in the basket like crumpled up paper into a garbage can.


Yes, the Anteaters are the only Anteaters in college sports. They became the Anteaters by a student poll in 1965 -- California in the 1960's was an interesting place -- and fans cheer ZOT ZOT ZOT because that is the noise anteaters are presumed to make. (Do you know what noise anteaters make? Exactly.)