Gauchos Picked to Finish Fifth in Big West Preseason Polls; Devine Selected to League's Preseason All-Conference Team

Oct. 25, 2006

IRVINE, Calif. - The UC Santa Barbara men's basketball team has been picked to finish fifth in the Big West Conference in 2006-07, according to preseason polls conducted at the league's annual media day on Wednesday.

In the Coaches Poll, Pacific and Long Beach State each received a total of 45 points to capture the top spot. Pacific garnered a slight edge in first-place votes, 5-3. The Media Poll had some different results, however, with Long Beach State earning 157 points and 18 of the 20 first-place votes, making them the trendy pick to steal the crown from the defending champion Tigers.

The Gauchos will be battling in the midst of an evenly-matched middle group of teams, which includes Cal State Fullerton, UC Irvine, and Cal Poly. Although Santa Barbara finished behind Fullerton in both polls, the coaches have UCSB finishing ahead of Cal Poly, while the media have The Gauchos edging out UC Irvine- who were 4th in the Coaches Poll.

The Gauchos finished the 2005-06 season with an overall record of 15-14 and a Big West mark of 6-8, good for fifth-place.

UCSB junior forward Chris Devine was selected to the Big West's Preseason All-Conference Team by the media. Devine, the Big West Hustle Award-winner and a Second Team All-Big West choice in 2005-06, averaged 12.2 points and 5.9 rebounds per game last season. He also paced the league in field goal shooting at 51.3% and had 31 steals. He was the only Gaucho to start all 29 games.

Santa Barbara opens its exhibition season on Wednesday, Nov. 1, when it hosts UC San Diego in a 7:00 p.m. game at the Thunderdome.

2006 Big West Men's Basketball Coaches Poll Results

1 Pacific (5) 45 Long Beach State (3) 45 3 Cal State Fullerton 37 4 UC Irvine 28 5 UC Santa Barbara 26 6 Cal Poly 20 7 Cal State Northridge 16 8 UC Riverside 7

2006 Big West Men's Basketball Media Poll Results

1 Long Beach State (18) 157 2 Pacific (2) 124 3 Cal State Fullerton 110 4 Cal Poly 91 5 UC Santa Barbara 87 6 UC Irvine 82 7 Cal State Northridge 46 8 UC Riverside 23

2006-07 Preseason All-Conference Team

Bobby Brown - Cal State Fullerton - Senior - Guard Chris Devine - UC Santa Barbara - Junior - Forward Darren Fells - UC Irvine - Junior - Forward Kejuan Johnson - Long Beach State - Senior - Guard Aaron Nixon - Long Beach State - Senior - Guard Derek Stockalper - Cal Poly - Senior - Forward