MBK: Nation’s toughest schedule to date belongs to Gauchos

Alan Williams

UCSB’s Alan Williams is averaging 16.3 ppg and 9.7 rpg through 11 games. (Presidio Sports Photo)

UCSB’s men’s basketball team will break into its Big West schedule ahead of the New Year with its conference opener on Saturday at Cal State Fullerton.

This year’s Gauchos have won only 4-of-11 games so far this season but have shown promise while up against the nation’s toughest schedule. Their No. 1 RPI Strength of Schedule ranking has them ahead of Duke, Kansas, Colorado, and North Carolina State, in that order. Overall, UCSB’s RPI rating is No. 46.

All seven of UCSB’s losses have been against teams with RPI rankings of 65 or higher, with six of those coming on the road. The Gauchos have traveled to play at LSU, Cal, Illinois State, Boise State, San Diego State and undefeated Wyoming.

As a result, while UCSB was selected fifth in the Big West preseason media poll, a much more recent prediction by CBS Sports has the Gauchos representing the Big West in the NCAA Tournament.

Fullerton is no slouch either. The Titans were?picked by the Big West media?in the preseason to finish second in the conference. They have won three straight and hold a 6-5 record.

Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Saturday evening in Titan Gymnasium. The game will be televised on ESPNU.

The Gauchos will then return to the Thunderdome for their conference home opener on January 3 versus UC Irvine.

Sophomore Alan Williams has led Santa Barbara through 11 games by nearly averaging a double-double. Williams is scoring 16.3 points per game while grabbing 9.7 rebounds and blocking more than two shots per game.

Fullerton has also played 11 games and features two players, Kwame Vaughn and DJ Seeley, averaging over 18 ppg and 3.5 apg.

Starting Saturday, 18 of UCSB’s final 19 games are conference games. The exception is an ESPN Bracketbusters game on February 23 in Santa Barbara.


(ESPN Brackbusters Game on February 23 Not Included)

Opponent Date Location Audio
Cal State Fullerton 12/29/2012 Fullerton, CA Game
UC Irvine 1/3/2013 Santa Barbara, CA Game
Long Beach State 1/5/2013 Santa Barbara, CA Game
Pacific 1/10/2013 Stockton, CA Game
UC Davis 1/12/2013 Davis, CA Game
Cal Poly 1/19/2013 Santa Barbara, CA Game
Cal State Northridge 1/24/2013 Santa Barbara, CA Game
Hawaii 1/26/2013 Santa Barbara, CA Game
Long Beach State 1/30/2013 Long Beach, CA Game
UC Irvine 2/2/2013 Irvine, CA Game
UC Davis 2/7/2013 Santa Barbara, CA Game
Pacific 2/9/2013 Santa Barbara, CA Game
Cal Poly 2/16/2013 San Luis Obispo, CA Game
UC Riverside 2/20/2013 Riverside, CA Game
Hawaii 2/28/2013 Honolulu, HI Game
Cal State Northridge 3/2/2013 Northridge, CA Game
Cal State Fullerton 3/7/2013 Santa Barbara, CA Game
UC Riverside 3/9/2013 Santa Barbara, CA Game
Big West Tournament 3/14/2013 Anaheim, CA Game
Big West Tournament 3/15/2013 Anaheim, CA Game
Big West Tournament 3/16/2013 Anaheim, CA Game