Preview: UC Santa Barbara
Gauchos have to take better care of the ball this season
2013-14 Big West Projected Standings
1. Long Beach State | 2. UC Irvine | 3. Cal Poly | 4. UC Davis | 5. Cal State Northridge | 6. UC Santa Barbara | 7. Hawaii | 8. Cal State Fullerton | 9. UC Riverside
Links to every conference
2012-13: 11-20 (7-11)
In-conference offense: 1.01 points per possession (9th)
In-conference defense: 1.03 points per possession (5th)
Alan Williams terrorized opponents on the glass last season, finishing with the highest offensive and defensive rebounding rates in the Big West, while also drawing a league-leading seven fouls per 40 minutes. He blocked shots at the second-best rate in the league and used a whopping 34 percent of his team's possessions, easily the highest mark in the conference. Williams became the first player to average a double-double (17-11) for the Gauchos since 1990, while improving his shooting touch from the charity stripe by a commendable 13 percentage points. And he's back, now a serious threat for Big West Player of the Year.
Even though UCSB as a team turned the ball over at the worst rate of any Big West team in league play, things weren't all bad with Williams' supporting cast. Kyle Boswell took home Big West Sixth Man of the Year honors after making 78 3-pointers on 42 percent shooting. Michael Bryson and Taran Brown both had solid seasons, logging heavy minutes as freshmen, but the team will need to see better results out of them from long distance if both players intend to keep firing up 3s. Head coach Bob Williams' team also will need to do a better job of keeping opponents off the free throw line; that actually starts with Williams, perhaps the Gauchos' main culprit there last season. His big numbers in the paint also included too many fouls. UCSB is still a year away from being a serious contender for the Big West title, but with all its key pieces returning, this still-young group can compete for a top-half finish in 2013-14.
Projected 2013-14 conference finish: 6th
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2013-14 Insider College Hoops Preview
In the lead-up to the 2013-14 college basketball season, Insider is providing preview articles on every Division I team, as well as essays from Insider's analysts and experts.