Hoops Preview - UC-Santa Barbara

In the midst of a three game skid, the Washington Huskies (4-4) will have a chance to rebound Friday night when UC-Santa Barbara (5-2) of the Big West Conference comes to Alaska Airlines Arena. The tip is set for 7 p.m. and the game will be aired live in the Northwest on ROOT Sports.

UCSB, whose only two losses have come to UNLV and San Diego State, are powered by one of the best all-around players in the country, Orlando Johnson. At 6-foot-5, the Seaside, Calif. guard is No. 6 in the country in points per game at 22.1. Beyond the scoring, Johnson, a redshirt senior, contributes a solid 6.9 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.3 blocks and 1.1 steals per game.

Alongside Johnson is another wing, James Nunnally. A four-year starter, Nunnally has been a solid contributor for the Gauchos program, but even more so this year, averaging 18 points on 47 percent shooting and 5.7 rebounds. The 6-foot-7 Stockton, Calif. native doesn't provide much on the defensive end though.

Starting in the front court is perhaps the sleeper of the team, Jaime Serna. The 6-foot-9 senior is one of the most productive players in the country when he is on the court. With a floor percentage of 75 percent (No. 2 in the country - floor percentage is scoring possessions divided by his total possessions), UCSB is scoring three out of every four possession when he is on the court. Part of the reason they've been so successful when he is playing is because of his 75 percent field goal percentage (No. 3 in the country), which brings him 11.6 points per game. Beyond offense, the Laguna Beach, Calif. native is hauling in 4.9 rebounds and 1.4 blocks during his 23.7 minutes per game.

The talent pool for UCSB dips off after those three, but Kyle Boswell, T.J. Taylor and the 7-foot-3 Budapest enforcer Greg Somogyi all provide decent ability off of the bench.

As a whole, the Gauchos are one of the most effective teams in the country, with an efficiency rating at No. 21 and floor percentage at No. 22. In terms of assist to turnovers, UCSB is No. 17 in the country with a mark of 1.38 assists per miscue. They've also have only allowed 25 steals (No. 1 in the country) and 12 blocks (No. 1 in the country). However, despite being incredibly productive on offense, the Gauchos' lapses come on defense, where they allow 66.4 points per game, No. 169 best in the nation. Expect Washington to be able to exploit a lackluster defense.

At the helm for this senior-laden team is Bob Williams, who has a 407-273 overall record over 24 years. His career originally started at Menlo in 1986, before moving to UC-Davis in 1990 where he stayed until 1998 when he was picked up at UCSB. Since arriving at UCSB, he has a 222-172 record and has taken the Gauchos to three NCAA tournament appearances.

All-time, UW holds the matchup advantage with a 2-0 record. The two wins came part of a home and away series in 1982 (72-62) and 1983 (75-55). At the time, Marv Harshman was the coach for UW and Ed DeLacy and Jerry Pimm coached at UCSB.


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