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UC Irvine goes into Big West basketball tournament as favorite
UC Irvine goes into Big West basketball tournament as favorite

The Big West’s automatic bid to this year’s NCAA tournament must be considered up for grabs if only for the fact the favored team has never been to the NCAA tournament. UC Irvine opens tournament play Thursday at Honda Center without a reliable read of the expectations. The Anteaters (22-10, 13-3) won the Big West regular-season title, but the tournament’s three-day format somewhat nullifies all that has been achieved. The top Big West teams don’t receive byes, they jump straight into single-elimination frays. “Everyone restarts now from the same point,” Irvine Coach Russell Turner said. Irvine’s advantage as the top draw is that it opens with No. 8 UC Riverside (10-20, 5-11). Irvine...

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