Fourth-year head coach Russell Turner's UC Irvine men's basketball team has been chosen to win the Big West Conference in preseason polls by at least three publications.
The 'Eaters are picked first by Athlon Sports, Lindy's Sports and USA Today Sports.
UCI finished 21-16 overall last season, tying the program's third-most victories for a season in the school's 48-year history.
The 'Eaters were 11-7 in the Big West in 2012-13 for the program's most conference victories in 10 years.
UCI advanced to the championship game of the Big West Conference Tournament last March for the fourth time in history and the first time in the last five years. The 'Eaters topped Hawai'i and No. 1 seed Long Beach State before falling to Pacific in the final.
The team then advanced to the postseason for the first time in 11 years as UCI reached the second round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament (CIT). The 'Eaters defeated High Point, 80-71, in the first round before ending the season with a 76-62 loss at Oral Roberts in the second round. The win over High Point was the program's first postseason victory in 27 years since an 80-74 win at UCLA in the first round of the 1986 NIT.