Gauchos Open Season Ranked 12th in Mid-Major Poll

Nov. 3, 2010

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The UC Santa Barbara men's basketball team is ranked 12th in the first collegeinsider.com Mid-Major Poll, it was announced Tuesday. It marks the program's highest mid-major ranking in nearly three years.

The Gauchos, who open the season with a 7:00 p.m. home exhibition game against The Master's College on Friday night, return all five starters and most of the key players from a team that won the Big West regular season and tournament championships in 2009-10. UCSB was 20-10 overall and 12-4 in conference play. The Gauchos advanced to the NCAA Tournament where they lost to Ohio State in the first round. The last time they were ranked higher was in December of 2007 when they opened the season at 10-1 were ranked sixth in the poll.

Juniors Orlando Johnson and James Nunnally lead the way among the returnees. Johnson, a preseason Mid-Major All-American, was the Big West Player of the Year and tournament MVP as a sophomore. He averaged 18.0 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. Nunnally, a second team all-league selection last season, averaged 14.7 points and a team-leading 5.6 rebounds per game. Both Johnson and Nunnally have been chosen to virtually every preseason All-Big West Team this year.

Don't forget, fans can follow UCSB Athletics on twitter by going to twitter.com/UCSBgauchos and the men's basketball program at twitter.com/UCSBbasketball

Butler, which played Duke for the 2010 NCAA Championship, is ranked number one in the poll of coaches from 31 mid-major programs around the country. Butler received 16 first-place votes while Gonzaga, ranked second, received 15. St. Mary's (11th) and Loyola Marymount (21st) are the only other west coast schools ranked among the top-25. Long Beach State (26th) and Pacific (29th) were among the top-30.

Season tickets for men's basketball are still on sale and there are a variety of affordable plans available. To purchase tickets, please call (805) 893-UCSB, visit the Ticket Office located inside the Intercollegiate Athletics building on campus or buy online and print at home by clicking here.

The Intercollegiate Athletics Ticket Office has two parking spaces adjacent to the building and is now open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., making it easier than ever for fans to purchase tickets. The two parking spots, designated specifically for the Ticket Office, are also available during weekday hours, which are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

A donation to the Gaucho Fund - regardless of the sport it supports - will be part of the One Donation is Gold system. This allows donors to purchase priority/premium seating and parking at UCSB games across several sports in addition to other benefits.

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