Men's Basketball Travels To Albuquerque To Take On Arizona In First Round Of NCAA Tournament On Thursday

Men's Basketball Travels To Albuquerque To Take On Arizona In First Round Of NCAA Tournament On Thursday

March 10, 2002

The Schedule
Game No. 31
2002 NCAA Tournament First Round

Thursday March 14, 2002 - 30 minutes after completion of 5:40 game between Gonzaga and Wyoming.
No. 14. UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. No. 3 University of Arizona Wildcats
at The Pit in Albuquerque, NM (The University of New Mexico)
The UCSB-Arizona winner will play the winner of No. 6 Gonzaga vs. No. 11 Wyoming

UC Santa Barbara Takes On Arizona In West Regional First Round
UC Santa Barbara enters the NCAA Tournament as the 14th-seed in the West Region. The Gauchos will take on the University of Arizona, the Pac Ten Champion, in the first round. The winner of the UCSB-Arizona game will then play the winner of the matchup between sixth-seeded Gonzaga and 11th-seeded Wyoming.

UCSB Returns To NCAA Tournament For First Time Since 1990
UC Santa Barbara's victory in the Big West Conference Tournament earned the program its first NCAA Tournament berth since the 1989-90 season and its third at the NCAA Division I level. The berth is UCSB's first automatic bid. In both 1987-88 and 1989-90, the Gauchos received at-large bids.

The Gaucho Record
UC Santa Barbara enters the first round of the NCAA Tournament with an overall record of 20-10. The Gauchos finished the Big West Conference schedule with an 11-7 record, good for third-place.

Gauchos Sweep Through Big West Tournament
Prior to this season, UC Santa Barbara had never even played in the Big West Tournament championship game, let alone won it. This year, the Gauchos did both. Third-seeded UCSB defeated sixth-seeded Cal Poly in the first round, 74-65, then they topped second-seeded UC Irvine in the second round, 66-61, and finally, on Saturday night, they beat top-seeded and two-time defending Big West champion Utah State, 60-56, to earn the program's first league championship ever.

Nice Time For A Streak
UCSB picked a nice time to put together its longest winning streak of the season. The Gauchos enter the NCAA Tournament with a five game winning streak, the longest of the 2001-02 season. The last time Santa Barbara won five in a row was at midseason last year. In addition to five in a row, the Gauchos have also won eight out of ten with the only two losses coming by a combined total of seven points.

Now I Remember What A 20 Win Season Looks Like
The 20-10 record is UCSB's best since they ended the 1991-92 season with a 21-9 mark. That team, however, was knocked-out in the first round of the Big West Tournament and wound up accepting a bid to the National Invitation Tournament. The 20 win season is the eighth in school history, but the first since that 1991-92 season. Santa Barbara recorded four 20-victory seasons from 1987-88 through 1991-92 and the received five postseason tournament bids between 1987-88 and 1992-93, two NCAA at-large bids and three NIT bids.

Jones Earns Tournament MVP Honors, Fullove Named All-Tourney
Sophomore guard Nick Jones was selected as the Big West Tournament's Most Valuable Player and both he and fellow-sophomore guard Branduinn Fullove were named to the league's All-Tournament Team. In three tournament games, Jones averaged 14.0 points, 3.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.3 steals per game. He made 13-of-24 (54.2%) shots from the floor, 7-of-11 (63.6%) from three-point range and 10-of-12 (83.3%) from the free throw line. In addition, the defensive job that Jones did on UC Irvine's Jerry Green, the league MVP, was a key in the semifinal win. The 21 points he scored in the game against UC Irvine equaled the second-highest total of his career. Fullove averaged 12.7 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.0 steals per game. He made 12-of-26 field goals (46.2%), 3-for-9 from three-point range (33.3%) and 11-of-13 (84.6%) from the free throw line.

What About Bob?
Fourth-year head coach Bob Williams will enter the NCAA Tournament with a UC Santa Barbara record of 62-52. Including stops at UC Davis and Menlo College, Williams has posted a career record of 247-150. Last week, he became the first coach in school history to guide the program to an NCAA Division I conference championship and he became the second coach to lead the program into the NCAA Division I Tournament. When he came to UCSB for the 1998-99 season, Williams inherited a program that had gone 7-19 the previous season. After opening his first year with an 0-8 record to extend a school-record losing streak to 16 games in a row, Williams' Gauchos turned things around, winning 15 of their final 20 games to finish with an overall record of 15-13 and a Big West mark of 12-4. In addition, UCSB won the Big West Western Division that season, earning Williams Big West and NABC District 15 Coach of the Year honors. The next season, UCSB suffered through an injury-plagued year, but still finished 14-14 overall and 10-6 in league. Last year, Williams' started four freshmen and a sophomore and posted a 13-15 overall record and a 9-7 Big West mark. This year, the young players came of age and everything jelled at the end of the Big West season. Finally, while this is Williams' first experience taking a team to the NCAA Division I Tournament, it is by no means the first time he has taken a program into postseason play While the head coach at UC Davis, he guided four teams into the NCAA Division II Tournament, and in his final year, 1997-98, he led the Aggies to the NCAA Division II National Championship, earning him NCAA Division II Coach of the Year honors.

Possible Starters - Notes
G - No. 3 - Nick Jones - Selected Most Valuable Player of the Big West Tournament.
G - No. 5 - Jacoby Atako - Has produced 32 assists and just six turnovers in the last seven games.
G - No. 33 - Branduinn Fullove - Selected to the All-Big West Tournament Team.
F - No. 30 - Mark Hull - Enters NCAA Tournament with 1,118 points and broken nose.
F - No. 45 - Adama Ndiaye - Has averaged 8.0 rebounds in the last eight games.

Probable Reserves - Notes
F - No. 14 - Bray Skultety - Walk-on forward leads the Gauchos with one rebound every 2.45 minutes.
G - No. 15 - Chrismen Oliver - Walk-on guard played 19 minutes in first 14 games and 77 in the last six.
G - No. 35 - B.J. Ward - Has played just 17 minutes in the last six games.
F - No. 40 - Mike Vukovich - Averaged 14.3 minutes per game in Big West Tournament.
F - No. 50 - Bryan Whitehead - Has gone scoreless in eight of his last 11 appearances.
F - No. 55 - J.J. Todd - Has played in just four games this season.

Now I Remember What A 20 Win Season Looks Like
The 20-10 record is UCSB's best since they ended the 1991-92 season with a 21-9 mark. That team, however, was knocked-out in the first round of the Big West Tournament and wound up accepting a bid to the National Invitation Tournament. The 20 win season is the eighth in school history, but the first since that 1991-92 season. Santa Barbara recorded four 20-victory seasons from 1987-88 through 1991-92 and the received five postseason tournament bids between 1987-88 and 1992-93, two NCAA at-large bids and three NIT bids.

Hull, Fullove & Ndiaye Earn All-Big West Recognition
Junior swingman Mark Hull was selected First Team All-Big West, sophomore guard Branduinn Fullove was named Second Team All-Big West and senior forward Adama Ndiaye was chosen Honorable Mention All-Big West. Hull, a Second Team All-Big West choice last year, is UCSB's leading scorer at 14.6 points per game. He ranks second on the team in rebounding at 5.3 per outing and his 70 three-point baskets rank as the third highest total in school history. Hull is the first Gaucho player to earn first team all-conference honors since 1998-99 when B.J. Bunton was a first team selection. Fullove, an honorable mention all-league choice last year, is second on the team in scoring at 14.2 points per game, fourth in rebounding at 4.2 per outing and second in assists at 2.9 per game. He has 56 three-point baskets, seventh all-time. For Ndiaye, it was his first all-conference honor. He is third on the team in scoring at 10.7 per game and first in rebounding at 7.7 per game and blocked shots with 43.

Offensive Rebounding
Actually, the Santa Barbara's coaching staff is not at all offended by its team's rebounding on the offensive end of late. The Gauchos have produced an average of 9.7 offensive rebounds per games this season, but in the last four games, they have averaged 12.0 per game.

Playing The Percentages
UCSB enters the NCAA Tournament as one of the nation's leaders in field goal percentage defense at 38.2%. For much of the season, Santa Barbara ranked among the top-five nationally, but they have allowed six of the last eight opponents to shoot better than 40.0% and the overall figure is now up to 38.2%. In the last eight games, Gaucho opponents have made 167-of-394, 42.4%. On February 7, UCSB limited the University of Idaho to 22.2% shooting from the field, the lowest mark by an opponent this season. UCSB has limited 16 of 30 opponents to less than 40.0% shooting and six opponents (Idaho, Long Beach State, Cal State Northridge, Pepperdine, USF and Westmont) have shot below the 30.0% mark. UCSB has allowed an opponent to shoot better than 50.0% just one time this season. UC Irvine made a season-high 53.7% and scored a season-high 82 points in a January 24 game against the Gauchos.

One-Two Punch
Mark Hull has scored 439 points this season and Branduinn Fullove has tallied 413. Combined, the Gaucho duo has piled-up 852 points, the most since B.J. Bunton (489) and Josh Merrill (378) combined for 867 in 1998-99. If Hull and Fullove can garner three points in the game against Arizona, they would move into tenth-place on the all-time one-two punch list. If they could combine for 16, they would move all the way up to seventh-place. In addition, Hull and Fullove are just the fifth teammates in school history to score 400 points. The last time a pair of Gauchos scored 400 apiece was in 1990-91 when Lucius Davis had 465 and Gary Gray added 463. The all-time Gaucho one-two punch was set in 1991-92 when Lucius Davis (644) and Idris Jones (370) combined for 1,014 points.

Walk This Way
Junior forward Bray Skultety and freshman point guard Chrismen Oliver have become regulars in the UCSB rotation. Both Skultety and Oliver are walk-ons. Skultety, in fact, is an amazing story. Not only did he not get recruited, he did not play basketball in high school. He simply came to Santa Barbara as a student and in the fall of 2000 he was spotted playing pickup ball and was asked to go out for the team. He made it, and while he did not get into a game last season, he has become the team's best rebounder this year. Skultety is averaging 4.4 boards per game, and while he has never played more than 18 minutes in a game, he has had five or more rebounds 12 times. He has also had a pair of ten-rebound performances. Oliver, on the other hand, played high school ball, but through the first 24 games, he played just 19 minutes. In the last six, he has played 77. In three Big West Tournament games, he was a factor, averaging 5.0 points per game and making 5-of-6 shots from the field overall and both of his three-point attempts.

On The Rebound
UCSB outrebounded two of its three Big West Tournament opponents. Entering the NCAA Tournament, the Gauchos have outrebounded their opponents 18 times in 30 games. UCSB has been outrebounded seven times, including three times in the last seven games. The Gauchos have had a pair of 20-rebound advantages this season, outrebounding the University of Idaho and Long Beach State by 20 rebounds apiece.

The Gauchos are 15-4 when outrebounding their opponent.
The Gauchos are 9-1 when shooting 50.0% or better.
The Gauchos are 20-9 when holding opponents below 50.0% shooting.
The Gauchos are 13-3 when holding opponents below 40.0% shooting.
The Gauchos are 13-6 when leading at halftime.
The Gauchos are 6-2 when trailing at halftime.
The Gauchos are 11-4 when passing off for 15 or more assists.
The Gauchos are 20-3 when holding the opposition below 70 points.
The Gauchos are 0-7 when the opposition scores 70 points or more.
The Gauchos are 13-4 when making 40.0% or better from three-point range.
The Gauchos are 7-5 when they have more turnovers than assists.
The Gauchos are 9-3 when attempting fewer than 15 three-point shots.
The Gauchos are 2-1 when their opponent shoots fewer than 15 three-pointers.
The Gauchos are 2-0 when producing ten or more steals.
The Gauchos are 10-2 when the game is decided by ten or more points.
The Gauchos are 6-6 when the game is decided by five or fewer points.
The Gauchos are 4-7 when committing more fouls than the opposition.
The Gauchos are 13-3 when attempting 20 or more free throws.
The Gauchos are 20-0 when outscoring their opponent.

UCSB enters its third NCAA Division I Tournament with a tourney record of 1-2. In 1988, the Gauchos lost to the University of Maryland in Cincinnati by a score of 92-82. Two years later, in 1990, Santa Barbara won its first round game in Knoxville, Tennessee, edging the University of Houston 70-66. The Gauchos then lost in the second round to Big Ten Champion Michigan State, 62-58.

Hull & His Nose Ready
Junior forward Mark Hull broke his nose in the second half of UCSB's Big West Tournament semifinal win over UC Irvine. After briefly attempting to play with a mask in practice the day of the championship game, Hull decided the Hannibal Lecter look was not for him and he gave it the heave-ho, opting instead to take his chances. He will continue to play without a mask in the NCAA Tournament.

UCSB Away From Home
UCSB enters the NCAA Tournament game against Arizona with a record of 9-8 in games away from home. The Gauchos have gone 5-8 in true road games and 4-0 in neutral court games. In addition to the three neutral court wins at the Big West Tournament, UCSB recorded an 86-59 win over the University of Detroit on December 28 at the Cable Car Classic in Santa Clara.

The Gauchos And Wildcats
Believe it or not, UC Santa Barbara and Arizona have played nine times with Arizona holding a 6-3 advantage. The last time the teams met was during the 1980-81 season and the Wildcats won that one 87-58. UCSB defeated Arizona during the 1971-72 season by a score of 97-63 and that was the last time the Gauchos posted a win in the series. The two teams first met during the 1956-57 season with the Wildcats posting a 72-67 win.

70-Point Barometer
In three Big West Conference Tournament victories, UCSB limited its opposition to 65, 61 and 56 points, an average of 60.7 per game. On the year, the Gauchos have now held opponents under the 70 point mark 23 times and in those 23 games they have gone 20-3. In fact, when they limited Utah State to just 56 points in the title game of the Big West Tournament, it marked the 16th time that they had held an opponent under the 60 point mark.

UC Santa Barbara tied a school record on February 23 by making all 18 of its free throw attempts. The last time a Gaucho team went 18-for-18 from the free throw line was against Pepperdine on December 15, 1988. The 18 successful free throws are the most UCSB has ever made in a game without a miss. In the Big West Championship game against Utah State, the Gauchos hit 12-of-15 from the charity stripe, 80.0%. The 80.0% performance against the Aggies improved UCSB's season free throw percentage to 75.6%. The Gauchos have been ranked among the nation's top-twenty in free throw percentage all season. They have made 80.0% or more in a game ten times and 70.0% or more 22 times, including each of the last ten games. Seven of ten UCSB regulars are shooting 70.0% or better from the line. Sophomore guard Branduinn Fullove leads the team at 85.6% and he has put together two runs of 26 straight this season. Santa Barbara's current 75.6% mark would rank as the third best in school history.

Margin Of Error
Of UCSB's 20 wins this season, ten have come by ten or more points and exactly half of those have come by 20 or more points. The Gauchos' most impressive margins of victory this season came in wins over Long Beach State (32), the University of Detroit (27) and the University of Idaho (23). Perhaps the most impressive victory, if not the biggest margin, was a 68-51 win on December 8 over NCAA Tournament participant Pepperdine. On the other side of the coin, Santa Barbara has lost its ten games by a combined total of 56 points, an average of 5.6 points per loss. The Gauchos have lost two games by double-digits, dropping 11-point decisions to USC and UC Irvine. UCSB's last three losses have come by a combined total of ten points, 3.3 per game.

Finishing What They Start
In three Big West Tournament games, four of the five Gaucho starters played at least 30 minutes in all three games. One, forward Adama Ndiaye, played 30 or more in two of the three games. Overall, the five starters, Ndiaye, Mark Hull, Branduinn Fullove, Jacoby Atako and Nick Jones played 486 of a possible 600 minutes, 81.0%. The UCSB reserves logged just 114 minutes, an average of just 38 minutes per game. During the regular season, only Hull and Fullove averaged more than 30.0 minutes per game at 33.8 and 31.8 respectively.