Jan. 24, 2007
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara received 25 votes and placed fourth in the Big West Preseason Coaches Poll released on Wednesday. The Gauchos, who return 14 letterwinners including seven starters from the 2006 team that finished 24-22 and made the program's second-ever NCAA tournament appearance, will start the 2007 season on February 8 at the Campbell/Cartier Tournament hosted by San Diego State.
Defending Big West champion Cal State Fullerton was favored to take home the title this season as it received six first place votes and 48 total points for the poll's No. 1 spot. The Titans return eight starters from the 2006 campaign. Cal Poly was picked No. 2 with 35 points and is returning the entire starting lineup that led the Mustangs to second place last season.
At No. 3 is Long Beach State who placed just behind Cal Poly with 33 points. The 49ers, who were unable to capture their third straight conference title last season, are under the guidance of first year head coach Kim Sowder in 2007.
Pacific tied the Gauchos with 25 points, marking the second consecutive year the two teams have been tied in the coaches' poll while Cal State Northridge, which tied UCSB for fourth place last season with an 8-10 conference mark, received the only other first place vote and were ranked sixth in the poll with 17 points. UC Riverside, which struggled in conference play last season posting a 2-16 BWC record, was picked to once again finish at the bottom with 13 votes.
2006 BIG WEST PRESEASON POLL
1. Cal State Fullerton (6) - 48
2. Cal Poly - 35
3. Long Beach State - 33
4. UC Santa Barbara - 25
Pacific - 25
6. Cal State Northridge (1) - 17
7. UC Riverside - 13