Chapel Hill, N.C. - Dean E. Smith Center
1 p.m., FSS
Season to Date: UC Santa Barbara enters Saturday's game with a 10-1 record. The Gauchos won their first two games of the year, defeating Northwestern State and Harvard at the Basketball Travelers Classic in Palo Alto, before losing at nationally-ranked Stanford. Since then, head coach Bob Williams‘ squad has won eight straight, with six of the wins coming at home (Cal Poly Pomona, San Francisco, Montana State, UNLV, Pepperdine and Utah Valley) and the other two occurring on the road (Loyola Marymount and Ball State). This is the second-best start in school history, and the best in 19 seasons.
Team Effort: While senior guard Alex Harris has led the early season run for the Gauchos with a 23.4 points per game average (28-of-53 from three-point range), his teammates have stepped over the last several games to round out the offense. Sophomore guard Justin Joyner has 23 assists and six turnovers in the last four games, while sophomore guard James Powell has scored in double-figures in six of his last eight games. Senior forward Ivan Elliott has connected on 11 of his last 16 field goal attempts (68.7 percent) in the last three games, and junior forward Chris Devine posted a season-high 22 points on 9-of-10 shooting in Wednesday's 79-52 victory over Ball State.
On Fire From Downtown: The Gauchos are averaging 8.1 three-pointers per game on a 45.4 percent clip this season, but the long-range statistics for this squad are mind-boggling over the past five contests. During that stretch, UC Santa Barbara has drained 49-of-88 attempts from beyond the arc – good for 55.7 percent. In four of those games, the Gauchos connected on at least 50 percent of their three-pointers. Ten different players have contributed from long-range territory.
Defensive Intensity: UC Santa Barbara is allowing just 61.0 points per game, and creating turnovers has been the key ingredient in their early season success. Through 11 games, the Gauchos are forcing 20.6 turnovers per game – which represents an increase of 7.2 per game over the 13.4 they created in 2006-07. Williams' squad is also averaging 8.8 steals per game, as seven different players have at least 10 steals on the season.
Series History: North Carolina defeated UC Santa Barbara 83-66 on Nov.25, 2005, in the first and only meeting between these two programs. Tyler Hansbrough recorded his first collegiate double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds. David Noel contributed 14 points and Bobby Frasor added 12 points and six assists in only his third game in a UNC uniform.
Background Location: Santa Barbara, Calif. Enrollment: 20,000 Conference: Big West Nickname: Gauchos Color: Blue & Gold Head Coach: Bob Williams Record at UCSB: 140-122 Last Year: 18-11
Projected Starters: 11 Justin Joyner (6-0, 177, So.) – 3.4 ppg, 4.3 apg 12 Alex Harris (6-6, 185, Sr.) - 23.4 ppg, 4.0 rpg 42 James Powell (6-2, 185, So.) – 10.6 ppg, 3.4 rpg 10 Chris Devine (6-8, 230, Jr.) - 13.8 ppg, 5.3 rpg 14 Ivan Elliott (6-8, 210, Sr.) – 8.9 ppg, 5.4 rpg Key Reserves: 1 Nedim Pajevic (6-9, 230, Sr.) – 6.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg 3 Jordan Weiner(6-0, 173, Fr.) – 3.0 ppg 5 D.J. Posley (6-3, 180, Jr.) – 2.9 ppg, 1.5 spg 4 Paul Roemer (6-0, 180, So.) – 2.5 ppg
Devine ... Harris
Elliott ... Powell
Pajevic ... Joyner
(Photos courtesy AP)