The last four years of UC Irvine Basketball were arguably the greatest four year run in program history. Four straight 20 win seasons, four straight appearances in postseason tournaments, and most importantly, the Anteaters’ first appearance in the Big Dance.
The 2016-2017 squad makeup is unlike any of those 20-win teams. Fittingly, the last team that faced a similarly unpredictable outlook was the 2011-2012 team which this very blog covered in its lone year of activity.
Unlike that ill-fated team, this year’s group bears the fruit of Russell Turner’s years of hard work building UCI hoops. Unlike that group which did not earn high marks from prognosticators and considered staying close with Long Beach State in the Big West Tournament an accomplishment, this year’s group has been picked second in the conference despite losing two of the best players that have ever stepped on the Bren Events floor. It should be fascinating to see where the Anteaters go from here. Will the last four years be a blip on the radar, similar to the early 2000s Jerry Green teams, or are we in the early stages of UCI’s steady climb as a mid-major power?
So let’s shake off the blog rust, and give this a go. Unlike before, my goal won’t be covering all things UCI Athletics, nor will I attempt to churn something out like a beat writer would if life gets in the way. Instead, the lights will shine solely on men’s basketball, and hopefully with some angles that aren’t examined elsewhere. This space will forecast the future, reflect on the present and look back at the past, all just as part of the fun of being a UCI fan.