Gauchos Featured as Many as Six Times in Big West TV Package

Jaime Serna (Photo by Matt Brown)
Jaime Serna (Photo by Matt Brown)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The two-time defending Big West Conference champion UC Santa Barbara men's basketball team will be featured a minimum of four times and as many as six in the television package announced by the Big West Conference Tuesday.

The Gauchos first appearance on television will be their Jan. 21 Thunderdome showdown with rival Long Beach State which will be carried on ESPNU.  UCSB and LBSU are the last two Big West regular season champions, but the Gauchos defeated the 49ers in each of the last two league tournament championship games.  The rematch between the two schools, scheduled for Feb. 22 at the Pyramid in Long Beach, will be carried by ESPN2.  Both games are scheduled to tip-off at 8:00 p.m. 

On Feb. 4, Santa Barbara travels to Cal State Fullerton.  There are four Big West games that day and two will be selected at a later date to be carried on ESPNU or Fox Sports West.  The other options on that day will be Cal State Northridge at Long Beach State, UC Davis at UC Riverside and Pacific at UC Irvine. 

The Gauchos will be televised on Prime Ticket when they host UC Riverside at 7:30 on Feb. 11 and then on ESPNU when Cal Poly comes to the Thunderdome for an 8:00 p.m. game on Feb. 25.

In addition, UCSB's Feb. 18 game SEARS BracketBusters game, could be carried by on of the ESPN family of networks.  The match-ups for all BracketBuster games will be announced in late-January.

"This is a great schedule for us," said Gaucho head coach Bob Williams.  "We have a product that is worthy of being televised, with the majority of players back from two straight NCAA teams, and this recognizes that.  I'm also excited because when we have TV in the Thunderdome it really gets our students and fans involved.  The place really becomes electric."

The 2011-12 Gauchos will return many of the key players who, in 2010-11, helped them win their second straight Big West Tournament and advance to their second straight NCAA Tournament, including two-time Big West Tournament MVP Orlando Johnson, two-time All-Big West choice James Nunnally, All-Big West Tournament honoree Jaimé Serna, 7-foot-3 center Greg Somogyi and guard Kyle Boswell.  

In addition to the key returnees, UCSB will add junior point guard Nate Garth and sophomore forward Keegan Hornbuckle to the mix.  Garth, a transfer from New Mexico, and Hornbuckle, a transfer from Colorado, sat out the 2010-11 season as redshirts. 

Five outstanding freshmen will also be added to the mix in 2011-12.  Guard John Green(Oakland, Calif./Westwind Prep Academy, forwards Alan Williams (Phoenix, Ariz./North HS), Taran Brown (Gillette, Wyo./Campbell County HS) and Lewis Thomas (Perth, Australia/Australian Institute of Sports) and point guard T.J. Taylor will all be available. 

UCSB opens practice on Oct. 15 in preparation for its Nov. 5 exhibition game against San Francisco State.  The regular season will open on Nov. 11 when the Gauchos host Chapman University.

Season tickets are on sale for UCSB men's basketball games.  The 15-game home schedule includes non-conference matchups with UNLV and San Diego State.  In addition to a season ticket, fans have the option to purchase a Big West+1 plan which includes a ticket to all eight Big West games plus one to either the UNLV or San Diego State contest. 

For information or to purchase season tickets, call 805-893-UCSB, drop by the Ticket Office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus or click here.