MBK: Gauchos picked second in preseason Big West poll

Alan Williams - UCSB Basketball

UCSB’s Alan Williams led the NCAA in rebounds per game last season. (Presidio Sports Photo)


The UCSB men’s basketball team was picked to finish second in the 2014-15 Big West Conference regular season standings and senior Alan Williams was chosen for the Preseason All-Conference Team in a poll of the league’s media members, it was announced Thursday.

The Gauchos, which finished second in 2013-14, garnered 195 total points and two first-place votes. UC Irvine, which won the regular season title last season, was the prohibitive favorite to repeat, piling-up 221 points and 20 first-place votes. Long Beach State had three first-place votes and totalled 180 points, while Cal State Northridge collected the final first-place vote and accumulated 165 points. Hawai’i rounded out the top-five with 119 points.

“Irvine is the defending league champions and they have a lot of people back, so they should be picked to win it,” said UCSB head coach Bob Williams. “I think the league has a lot of parity this year and any one of a number of teams can win it, or at least be near the top.”

Alan Williams, the reigning Big West Player of the Year and a two-time all-conference selection, was one of six players named to the Big West Preseason All-Conference Team. Williams, who was also an All-District, All-Region and Honorable Mention All-American in 2013-14, averaged a league-leading 21.3 points and a nation-leading 11.5 rebounds per game as a junior.

“Having Alan make the preseason all-conference team was a no-brainer,” Coach Williams said. “He’s been one of the most dominant individual players in the league the last two years and that should be the case again this season.”

Williams was joined on the Preseason All-Big West Team by guards Mike Caffey (Long Beach State) and Corey Hawkins (UC Davis), forwards Isaac Fotu (Hawai’i) and Stephen Maxwell (CSUN), and center Mamadou Ndiaye (UC Irvine).

Media Poll Results
1. UC Irvine (20) 221
2. UC Santa Barbara (2) 195
3. Long Beach State (3) 180
4. CSUN (1) 165
5. Hawai’i 119
6. Cal Poly 109
7. UC Davis 79
8. Cal State Fullerton 64
9. UC Riverside 38

( ) First-place votes

UCSB will play its only home exhibition game of the season on Monday, Nov. 10 when it hosts Point Loma at 7:00 p.m. in the Thunderdome. The Gauchos will open the regular season on Friday, Nov. 14 at the University of Kansas before flying east to play at Florida Gulf Coast in Fort Myers, Fla., on Monday, Nov. 17. They will play their first home game against The Master’s College on Saturday, Nov. 22 at 4:00 p.m. in the Thunderdome.