Team preview: UC Santa Barbara
Blue Ribbon Illustrated previews the 2004-05 college basketball season, exclusively on Insider.
A 16-12 record and third-place finish behind two of the most dominant teams the Big West has seen in recent years wouldn't qualify as a disappointment for a lot of teams. But UC Santa Barbara, coming off appearances in the NCAA Tournament (2002) and the NIT Tournament (2003), expected to be competing for another crack at the Big Dance.
Santa Barbara returned four starters to a team that won the Big West regular-season crown, but things never came together for the Gauchos in 2003-2004. The team got off to a good start, beating Hawaii and UCLA on the road, but the talented base of Branduinn Fullove, the 2003 Big West Player of the Year, Nick Jones and Jacoby Atako was never able to mesh with the team's underclassmen.