Santa Barbara, Calif. - The Thunderdome
10 p.m. (EST), ESPNU
"Playing UC Santa Barbara in their gym is a true road game. A lot of teams in college basketball don't schedule true road games… Bob Williams does a nice job, and I have a great deal of respect for him and what's he done for many years. " – UNC head coach Roy Williams
"The town has been excited for months. It's been a while since we've had a team of this magnitude here. It's the toughest ticket by far the past 11 years." -- Williams on UNC coming to town
Season Results: The University of California at Santa Barbara enters Friday night's game with a 1-1 record. The Gauchos defeated Cal State Los Angeles, 64-55, last Friday, before losing a heartbreaker to Utah State on Monday night, 61-59. UC Santa Barbara rallied from a nine-point deficit with 4:15 to play to tie the score with 30 seconds left, but Utah State's Matt Formisano scored on a put-back with three seconds left to give his visiting team the victory.
Inside Out Combo: Forward Chris Devine is averaging 15.5 points per game this season, and those 31 points give him 1,174 for his career, the 15th-highest total in school history. The senior provides the bulk for Bob Williams' squad in the post, while junior James Powell (12.3 ppg in '07-‘08) serves as the perimeter threat. Powell is averaging 15 points per contest, but he has not quite warmed up to the new three-point line, missing 11 of his 14 attempts on the season. Last year, he made 79 three-point baskets in knocking down 46.7 percent of his long-range bombs.
Sidelined: Junior point guard Justin Joyner will miss the 2008-09 season as he rehabilitates his surgically-repaired right wrist. The Big West leader in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.1) and the Gauchos' leader in assists (3.6 apg) in 2007-08, Joyner played his entire sophomore season with a broken bone in his wrist, starting all 32 games. He was held scoreless with two assists in the loss to North Carolina last season.
Preseason Predictions: The Gauchos were picked to finish second in the Big West Conference by the league's coaches and media. Cal State Northridge, which along with Cal State Fullerton and UCSB tied for the regular season league crown in 2007-08, was selected to win the title this year.
Interesting Fact: The Gauchos will play its first top-ranked team at home since 1991.
Last Meeting: North Carolina defeated UC Santa Barbara, 105-70, on Dec. 22, 2007. Tyler Hansbrough led all scorers with 21 points and grabbed eight rebounds, while providing the highlight of the night with a fast break 360-degree slam dunk. Ty Lawson added 15 points, six assists and four steals, and Wayne Ellington contributed 17 points.
Series History: The Tar Heels lead the series, 2-0, with the first victory occurring on Nov. 25, 2005, when UNC won 83-66 in Chapel Hill.
Background Location: Santa Barbara, Calif. Enrollment: 20,000 Conference: Big West Nickname: Gauchos Colors: Blue & Gold Head Coach: Bob Williams Record at UCSB: 164-132 Last Year: 23-9 (12-4)
Projected Starters: 1 D.J. Posely (6-3, 180, Sr.) – 4.4 ppg, 4.0 apg 4 Paul Roemer (6-0, 180, Jr.) – 2.5 ppg, 1.5 apg 42 James Powell (6-2, 185, Jr.) - 15.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg 10 Chris Devine (6-8, 230, Sr.) – 15.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg 44 Jesse Byrd (6-8, 225, Jr.) - 5.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg Key Reserves: 21 James Nunally (6-5, 205, Fr.) – 4.0 ppg 20 Will Brew (6-3, 175, Fr.) – 3.5 ppg, 3.0 apg 15 Sam Phippen (6-9, 193, So.) – 3.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg 55 Greg Somogyi (7-2, 230, Fr.) – 3.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 1.5 bpg 00 Jaime Serna (6-7, 235, Fr.) – 3.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg