Preseason Expectations: The Gauchos are coming off of a disappointing (11-18) 2004-05 season that was plagued by an endless string of injuries. They began this season with four of the five season-ending starters from last year back and welcomed several promising newcomers who were expected to provide an instant impact -- and therefore improved depth. UCSB was picked third in the conference's preseason poll, but several major preseason publications predicted UCSB would win the conference.
Season To Date: UCSB arrives in Chapel Hill with a 2-0 record, with wins over San Francisco and San Diego. In the opener, the Gauchos pulled away from USF with torrid second-half shooting, for an 82-59 win. In their second game, UCSB held off a late rally to beat San Diego, 67-65.
Three For All: While they've only played two games, UCSB's three-point shooting numbers are ranked fifth in the nation thus far. Their 53.3 percent on three-pointers stems from an 11-of-16 performance in the win over USF. The team's top long-range shooters thus far are Joe See (6-of-8), Alex Harris (5-of-8) and Tom Garlepp (3-of-3). Could this just be a fluke? See and Harris both shot 32.8 percent on threes last season.
Second Half Team: UCSB's offense has been more in control and shot the ball considerably better in the second half in both its first two games. The numbers show 44 percent (28-64) from the field and 44 percent on three-pointers (7-16) in the first half, compared with 56 percent (22-39) from the field and 64 percent (9-14) on three-pointers in the second half.
New Frontcourt Faces: Chris Devine and Tom Garlepp have been welcome additions to the UCSB frontcourt. Devine, who sat out his first two seasons in Santa Barbara because of injuries, started his first game and led the team in points (17), rebounds (7) and assists (6). A tough, versatile 6-7, 210-pound forward, he plays the four spot for the undersized Gauchos. Foul trouble has limited him to under 26 minutes per game and he fouled out of the win over San Diego. Garlepp, a freshman from Australia, was a preseason redshirt candidate, but his shooting touch (75%) and work on the boards (6.5 rpg) is too valuable to this year's team. With the lack of production thus far from starting center Cameron Goettsche, Garlepp and Devine have provided important contributions.
Dangerous Conference: Don't know much about the Big West Conference? Its been a potent mid-major league the last few years. Pacific has reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament two straight years. And just last week, UC-Irvine stunned 13th-ranked Stanford, 79-63.
Background Location: Santa Barbara, Calif. Enrollment: 20,559 Conference: Big West Nickname: Gauchos Colors: Blue & Gold Head Coach: Bob Williams Record at UCSB: 109-97
Projected Starters: 1 Cecil Brown (6-4, 185, Sr.) – 9.0 ppg, 2.5 apg, 5.0 rpg 2 Josh Davis (6-5, 200, Sr.) – 4.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg 12 Alex Harris (6-5, 200, So.) - 14.0 ppg, 3.0 apg 10 Chris Devine (6-7, 210, So.) – 14.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 4.5 apg 20 Cameron Goettsche (6-9, 225, Sr.) - 4.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg Key Reserves: 41 Tom Garlepp (6-8, 230, Fr.) – 11.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg 11 Joe See (6-0, 170, Sr.) – 11.0 ppg, 2.0 apg 44 Glenn Turner (6-9, 220, Jr.) – 4.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg 32 Chidi Ajufo (6-6, 240, So.) – 2.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg