Gauchos voted 5th best in pre-season Big West poll

The annual Big West Conference Preseason Media Poll has the UCSB men’s basketball team picked to finish in fifth-place. The reigning Big West champion Long Beach State was selected as the favorites to repeat as 2012-13 champions.

The Gauchos received 129 points from a 21-member media panel, which placed them right behind Hawaii, the newest member of the Big West. Cal State Fullerton is slated to finish second, while UC Irvine was picked to come in third.

UCSB has appeared in the Big West Championship game each of the last three seasons. They faced off against Long Beach State all three times, defeating them in 2010 and 2011, before falling to them last season. The Gauchos made two NCAA Tournament appearances in their championship seasons and last year advanced to the College Insider Tournament.

UCSB finished last season with a 20-11 overall record, posting an impressive 12-4 mark in conference play. This season they welcome nine freshmen to the squad and look to turn some heads with their young and talented additions.

The young Gauchos will make their debut on Thursday, Nov. 1 when they host La Verne in the only exhibition game of the year. They will open the regular season with a road swing to LSU and Illinois State before returning home for a Nov. 17 regular season home opener against The Master’s College.