UC Irvine guard Robert Cartwright (3) and forward Jonathan Galloway (5) celebrate against Kansas State during the second half of a first round men's college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament Friday, March 22, 2019, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)© ASSOCIATED PRESS
UC Irvine guard Robert Cartwright (3) and ahead Jonathan Galloway (5) have fun in opposition to Kansas State in the course of the second half of a primary spherical males’s faculty basketball recreation within the NCAA Event Friday, March 22, 2019, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Picture/Chris Carlson)

Mar. 24–SAN JOSE — Cinderella returns to the NCAA event ground Sunday at SAP Heart.

And so do the 13th seeds from charming, diminutive UC Irvine.

When the Anteaters and Oregon meet within the second spherical of the South Regional, the groups shall be competing to increase their respective seasons and fairy tales.

“I suppose we’re a Cinderella too,” Geese guard Payton Pritchard mentioned. “I imply, they acquired a significantly better report than us. At this level, the query is who’s going to proceed this nice story?”

Whereas Irvine was rising from the nationally ignored Massive West, Oregon almost disappeared fully within the Pac-12 solely a month in the past.

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The Geese had simply misplaced three straight — together with unpleasant defeats at USC and UCLA — and have been coming unwound.

However they’ve since received 9 in a row, clinched an NCAA berth by successful their convention event and ripped Wisconsin 72-54 within the opening spherical.

Nonetheless, Oregon is seeded only one spot forward of Irvine and sits at 24-12 in comparison with the Anteaters’ 31-5, a victory whole that’s now a college report each time they win.

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For 2 groups that gave the impression to be unlikely second-round survivors for a lot of this season, the glass slipper is most actually half-full.

“Cinderella…yeah, not each man want to be referred to as that,” Irvine coach Russell Turner mentioned. “I do not thoughts it as a result of I believe it is a constructive expression for groups on this event that do one thing particular.

“However that does not actually matter. That is the beauty of this event. You get to settle it in a rectangle. And what your seed is does not matter…So in the event that they name us Cinderella, that is advantageous. However I believe we have earned everyone’s respect, no matter they name us.”

The Anteaters no query have everybody’s consideration, their 70-64 victory Friday over Kansas State the varsity’s first ever on this storied occasion.

They have been the highest-numbered seed to maneuver on and, with Wofford falling Saturday, have the nation’s longest successful streak at 17.

They’ve misplaced solely as soon as in 21 video games in 2019 and stay undefeated — 8-0 — below probably the most anxious of situations: video games determined by 5 factors or fewer.

So it was {that a} group of gamers largely unnoticed over the previous 5 months all of a sudden discovered themselves Saturday watching 6-foot-10 Jonathan Galloway being interviewed by six reporters whereas he laid on the locker room ground together with his legs extending up the wall as a approach to stretch his hamstrings.

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“The popularity may be very particular,” mentioned guard Robert Cartwright, who recorded the comical scene round Galloway together with his cellphone. “Persons are taking discover throughout the nation. That is very cool.

“We’re residing our dream right here. As a bit of child, you see the NCAA event. You watch ‘One Shining Second’ and also you hope that you will have the chance to do this at some point. We’re in the midst of it proper now. We imagine we nonetheless have a protracted approach to go. We imagine we’ve got an excellent probability to win this recreation.”

After beating Kansas State, the Anteaters chanted and swayed of their locker room. Galloway and freshman Collin Welp positioned a sticker bearing the varsity’s title on a poster representing the subsequent spherical of NCAA’s bracket. Ahead Tommy Rutherford mentioned there “was simply an power like no different.”

At one level, Turner walked into the center of the joyous mass and, 27 years after his taking part in profession ended, broke down right into a basic defensive stance. Traditional, no less than, aside from the half the place he shimmied his 48-year-old shoulders.

Within the ultimate weeks of the common season, the motto round this staff turned “If you wish to dance, get within the stance.” It has since been up to date.

“Now,” senior Spencer Rivers mentioned, “it is if you wish to advance, get within the stance.”

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The Anteaters aren’t taking part in or appearing or sounding like underdogs. A number of of them talked about how the notion of successful within the NCAA event has been round since their first fall apply.

They praised Oregon and promised they have been centered on nothing greater than the Geese but additionally insisted they know they will compete with one of many Pac-12’s two remaining event groups.

The concept of Cinderella in all probability is not actually part of the mind-set of both the Anteaters or Geese, Oregon ahead Kenny Wooten interrupting a query Saturday to ask for clarification of what the time period Cinderella even means.

Then once more, Wooten additionally mentioned the one anteater with which he was acquainted was “Alf,” a late-1980s tv puppet that was imagined to be some kind of an area alien.

“Nonetheless the media desires to painting us,” Cartwright mentioned. “However we do not see ourselves that approach. We perceive that may include our seeding. However we take a look at ourselves as a high-level staff that may compete with just about anyone.”

Irvine has one other probability to show it Sunday. And so does Oregon. Right here, in a rectangle. Just one story can proceed.

___

(c)2019 the Los Angeles Occasions

Go to the Los Angeles Occasions at www.latimes.com

Associated slideshow: Finest Pictures of the NCAA Event (supplied by imagn)

a person holding a basketball: Purdue Boilermakers guard Carsen Edwards (3) drives to the basket around Villanova Wildcats guard Collin Gillespie (2) during the second half of a game in the second round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at XL Center on March 23, 2019.

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