SMU vs UC IRVINE – NIT FIRST ROUND

8 pm, Moody Coliseum
TV: ESPN2 Radio: 770 AM

Despite finishing the season with a No. 25 ranking, the Mustangs find themselves in the NIT rather than the NCAA Tournament. They do, at least, have the to seed in their region that also includes San Francisco, LSU, Arkansas, Indiana State, California and Utah Valley. The Mustangs finished 15-1 at Moody Colisuem for the regular season, with the one lost being in their last game against Louisville. Nic Moore was named All-AAC first team, while Markus Kennedy was named to the second team.

About UC Irvine: The Anteaters were the Big West regular season champions at 13-3, only to lose in the conference tournament to conference champion Cal Poly. They have one of the more balanced teams in the nation but do not appear to have one person that can take charge, as three players averaged more than 11 points per game with Luke Nelson, the conference Freshman of the Year, leading them at 11.7. With two freshmen and a sophomore in the starting lineup, this is one team that may actually have less experience than the Mustangs..

One question is how SMU will deal with UC Irvine’s freshmen tower duo in 7-2 Ioannis Dimakoloulous and 7-6 Mamadou Ndiaye. Ndiaye, a native of Senegal, is averaging 8 points and 3 blocks per game.

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