Antourage Insider: Bren Events is the New Staples Center
The win against Long Beach State was hands down the best win of the year, and hopefully a win that UC Irvine can use to carry momentum forward. After a tough stretch of losing six out of seven, UCI is all of a sudden on a nifty three-game winning streak.
Hats off to Mike Wilder. It is impossible not to love this guy, what with the afro and his smart, gritty, hustle, all-around mistake-free play. He makes for a great underdog figure, and it is a real treat that he is only a sophomore. UCI marketing needs to give away free afros as a promo pronto.
Last week, the Antourage Insider said that UCI had to neutralize Casper Ware to win, and neutralize him theydid. Playing all 40 minutes, the 49er point guard was limited to a remarkable zero assists. Great job, considering Ware is averaging nearly six assists per game this year.
A nearly capacity crowd at Bren was a great sight to see. The biggest home crowd in four years didn’t know all the intricacies of being a UCI fan, but they did a good job of getting on their feet later in the game. The razzle dazzle between-the-legs pass from Derick Flowers got everyone on their feet, and showed what this team and this fan base could do.
Homecoming Court, or should I say Greek Court … Nice to get everyone out there dressed up and everything, but you have to wonder how many members of the court had ever been to a UCI sporting event before. You can’t top last year’s king, Scott Roeder, who was at nearly every game for his video and photography duties.
Apparently Matthew Morrison who plays Will Schuester on the television show GLEE was at
the game. First Stephen Curry and Andris Biedrins, and now Morrison. The Bren is becoming the next Staples Center!
I know that criticizing referees is like beating a dead horse, but the Long Beach State game wasatrocious. The number of offensive foul calls was not only over-the-top, but it seemed like they were just calling blocks and charges arbitrarily. After several 49er flops were called UCI violations, an out -of-control Daman Starring somehow drew a blocking call. The calls nearly cost the ’Eaters when Eric Wise fouled out due to one of the said bad calls. Shame on you, Big West refs.
Storming the court afterwards was fun to see, but somewhat illegitimate as well. Rick Reilly wrote an entire column about this, but college students are rushing the court for increasingly less significant reasons. Beating Long Beach State is a great win over a rival for sure, but they’re not a ranked team. This win does not guarantee any sort of post-season appearance. It wasn’t even that great of an upset. Rushing the court gives the 49ers too much respect, as if it was such a great triumph to beat them. And yes, I realize how silly it is for me to criticize my own generation for lowering standards and doing things because they want to rather than because it is warranted. But I digress.
Up next, Cal State Northridge on Thursday at the Bren and UC Davis on Saturday up north. Don’t let Northridge’s 6-13 record deceive you; the Matadors just beat Cal Poly handily 80-65 on Saturday.
Seniors Lenny Daniel and Rashaun McLemore have led the Matadors for much of the season, averaging 16.5 and 15.3 points per game respectively. McLemore has been injured the past two games, and may be replaced in the starting lineup by junior Raymond Cody. Bobby Braswell distributes the minutes between a bunch of guys, with 12 guys seeing the floor with regularity.
UCI should be able to pull this one out, but it’s still anyone’s game on any given night. The second through eighth place teams in the Big West have conference records ranging from 4-3 to 2-3.
That being said, I’ll predict a five-point win for UCI on account of better team chemistry.