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Free NCAA Pick Sunday

#873 UC-Irvine +5 over Oregon 8:40 PM CT

Often times when smaller conference squads pull off a Round of 64 upset they are fade material in the following game. UC-Irvine doesn’t fit that mold however as the Big West champions now have 31 wins and haven’t lost since mid-January. The Anteaters were also a very small underdog against the Big XII co-champion Kansas State on Friday and will actually be an even bigger underdog against Pac-12 Tournament champion Oregon Sunday.

Getting a shot at a Pac-12 squad on this stage is very alluring for one of the top defensive teams in the nation, featuring the #5 effective field goal rate defensively nationally, and #1 nationally from 2-point range. That is an ideal trait taking on a Ducks offense that is limited and has minimal 3-point shooting potential. This young Ducks team has momentum with nine straight wins but there is not much quality on that late season run in a very weak Pac-12. Oregon is now in a sixth game in 12 days and there could be a bit of a letdown after Friday’s big win over Wisconsin.

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The Badgers had posted two recent NCAA Tournament wins vs. Oregon and the 18-point final margin was very misleading. Oregon shot 47 percent on 3-point shots while Wisconsin shot 20 percent on 30 3-point attempts. Oregon was crushed on the offensive glass against Wisconsin but was better at the line and had fewer turnovers to pull away. The Ducks won’t have the advantage of being the west coast team in this west coast venue this time and Irvine will be more than comfortable at Oregon’s deliberate pace. Oregon’s front-line won’t have the same success in this matchup and Payton Pritchard had seven turnovers on Friday as really the only backcourt ball handler on the Ducks, he will be liable for more mistakes against a fierce set of perimeter defenders for the Anteaters.

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Big E is 9-5 in the Big Dance and 13-7 in his past 20 picks. Sunday’s 4 x 4 offer is available for $24.94 or get individual Biggie plays for $9.94 each.

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