March 13, 2011
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara, the 2011 Big West Tournament champion, has been awarded a 15th seed in the NCAA Southeast Regional and will meet SEC Tournament runner-up Florida in the first round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament on Thursday in Tampa, Fla. The time of the game has yet to be determined.
The Gauchos (18-13) defeated Long Beach State 64-56 in the Big West Tournament title game on Saturday night to earn its second consecutive NCAA Tournament bid and third since 2002. On Sunday, 12th-ranked Florida (27-7) lost to Kentucky in the SEC Championship game at Atlanta. The Gators, coached by Billy Donovan, won the conference's Eastern Division.
"Obviously nobody expected us to be in this position three weeks ago," said UCSB head coach Bob Williams. "We're very happy about the opportunity to play Florida and to go to back to the tournament two years in a row. I don't know much about the, except that they have one of the best coaches in the country, but we'll work on that the next couple of days."
The Gators are led by guards Walker Erving and Kenny Boynton who are averaging 14.4 and 14.1 points, respectively. Forward Chandler Parsons is at 11.5 points and a team-leading 7.8 rebounds per game. Before losing to Kentucky in the title game of the SEC Tournament, Florida had won 10 of 11 games, including three victories over Vanderbilt and one over Kentucky.
UCSB is led by Big West Tournament Most Valuable Orlando Johnson who is averaging 21.1 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. James Nunnally (16.4 points per game and 5.7 rebounds) and Jaimé Serna (8.0 points and 4.4 rebounds per game) were also named to the All-Tournament Team.
The time of the Gauchos first round game has yet to be announced. Tickets are $82.00 and go on sale Monday morning. They are good only for the session that includes UCSB-Florida and UCLA-Michigan State. Priority will be given to Gaucho Fund members, season ticket holder and UCSB students from 9:00 a.m. to noon. UCSB alumni and Santa Barbara County residents can purchase form noon to 2:00 p.m. and, if tickets are still available, the general public can purchase them beginning at 2:00 p.m.
To purchase tickets, please call (805) 893-UCSB or visit the Ticket Office located inside the Intercollegiate Athletics building on campus.