The votes are in for The Big West Men’s Basketball Preseason Coaches’ Poll, and from it, the UCSB men’s basketball team is coming in at No. 1.
The Big West hosted its annual Preview Show throughout the day on Wednesday, Oct. 19, as it highlighted all of the teams in The Big West. The show began at 10 a.m. with the team picked to finish in 11th place this season before working its way up the rankings.
The Gauchos were picked to finish in first place by all of the coaches in The Big West following the return of key players while bringing in some phenomenal freshmen and transfers.
Despite the loss of Amadou Sow, UCSB returns the Big West Freshman of the Year in Ajay Mitchell while also bringing back All-Big West Honorable Mention player Miles Norris, Josh Pierre-Louis and Ajare Sanni. Not only that, but the Gauchos picked up a key player in the transfer portal in Andre Kelly. Kelly comes to Santa Barbara from Cal, where he was named a Pac-12 Honorable Mention player. Also joining the team on the court is Cincinnati transfer Zach Harvey and freshman Koat Keat Tong, who was named the CIF Player of the Year while also being ranked in the Top 100 by PrepHoops.
Following behind the Gauchos in the Preseason Poll in order are Hawai’i, Long Beach State, UC Irvine, UC Riverside, UC Davis, Cal State Fullerton, CSU Bakersfield, Cal Poly, UC San Diego and CSUN.
Along with the Coaches’ Poll, The Big West announced the All-Big West Preseason Team. Both Mitchell and Kelly were selected to the team as UCSB is the only university to earn two spots on the list.
The Gauchos will have their first taste of the 2022-23 season on Monday, Nov. 7, as they welcome San Francisco State for a non-conference match in The Thunderdome with a 7 p.m. tip.
Kristen Keller is the associate athletic director for communications and digital strategy at UCSB.