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Know Your Small Conference Winners: UC Santa Barbara Gauchos

 

The Gauchos are making their second consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament but their return trip this year wasn't quite as vanilla. From November through February, pre-season conference champion favorite UCSB was terribly underperforming. For a team laden with experienced upperclassmen, an 8-8 mark in the mediocre Big West conference was a disappointment. Somehow, Coach Bob Williams lit a fire under these guys and they went on a tear through the conference tournament winning all three games by an average of over 13PPG.

Get more on the Gauchos, after the jump...

Location: Santa Barbara, California

Enrollment: 21,500

Record: 18-13 (8-8)

Leading Scorers: Orlando Johnson (21PPG), James Nunnally (16.4PPG)

What to Know

  • UCSB is one of only five teams in the field (Duke, SDSU, Purdue, Ohio St.) with at least two players that have scored 30 points or more in a game this season. Johnson's season high was 39 and and Nunnally's 34. 
  • Ten different players have started for the team this year in an effort to kick-start this team. Over the last four games, all wins, it looks like they've settled on Johnson, Nunnally, Joyner, Pastorek, Serna as the starting five.

Outlook: UCSB allowed Ohio State to shoot 10-22 from 3-point range in their lone tournament game last year, and it's something they'll need to be alert for against Florida. The Gator Gunners Erving Walker and Kenny Boynton must be limited if UCSB wants to stay in it. The Gauchos appear hungry. We know they're experienced, and we know they have two of the more explosive scorers in the region on their team. If there is a #2 seed that's getting upset, it's Florida at the hands of UC Santa Barbara.