Five Non-Conference Home Games, Road Games at UCLA, USC, SMU Highlight 2016-17 UCSB Schedule

Gabe Vincent (Photo by Eric Isaacs)
Gabe Vincent (Photo by Eric Isaacs)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The 2016-17 UC Santa Barbara men's basketball schedule features six home games against teams that played in postseason tournament in 2015-16 and a trio of high-profile road games, including visits to USC and UCLA, head coach Bob Williams announced Monday.

After opening the season with a Nov. 6 exhibition home game against Fresno Pacific, the Gauchos will play their regular season opener at home against Nebraska-Omaha, a program that played in the College Basketball Invitational last season, on Nov. 12. The teams met at Omaha in the season-opener last year and UCSB escaped with a thrilling 60-59 win.

After playing host to the University of San Francisco (Nov. 16), the Gauchos will hit the road for a trio of games. They will play the first of a same-season home-and-home with the defending Western Athletic Conference champion and NCAA Tournament participant Cal State Bakersfield on Nov. 19. The teams will also tangle at the Thunderdome on Dec. 27.

The Tuesday before Thanksgiving UCSB will travel to Dallas to play Southern Methodist University on Nov. 22. Despite being barred from playing in the 2016 NCAA Tourney, the Mustangs were ranked among the nation's top-25 all season. Five days after that, the Gauchos jump on a bus and head down the 101 to the 110 to play at another NCAA Tournament team, USC, on Nov. 27. The game against the Trojans, will be followed by a Dec. 1 home game against Division II Sonoma State.

On Dec. 11, Santa Barbara will travel to the University of San Diego to begin a stretch of four consecutive games away from home, the final non-conference road games of the season. The team will then travel to Westwood to play UCLA on Dec. 14, followed by Dec. 21 and Dec. 22 games at the South Point Holiday Hoops Classic in Las Vegas. The Gauchos played in the same tournament last season and this year's field also includes Nevada, Iona and Towson.

Following the Dec. 27 rematch against Bakersfield, UCSB will complete the non-conference portion of its slate with a Dec. 30 game Thunderdome affair against Seattle University, a team that played in the 2016 College Basketball Invitational.

"I think this is a very good schedule for a team that will have a lot of new pieces," Williams said. "We have some quality opponents at home and some big name opponents on the road and, combined, I believe it will have us well-prepared for the Big West season."

The league season will commence on Jan. 4 when the Gauchos travel to UC Davis. Their next game, and also their first Big West home game, will be against UC Irvine, which lost in the final of the Tournament last season, on Jan. 12. The Anteaters finished with a school record 28 wins in 2015-16. UCSB will complete its first conference home weekend against Cal Poly on Jan. 14.

Some of the other highlights of the conference home schedule will include games against defending league champion, Hawa'i on Feb. 16 and National Invitation Tournament participant Long Beach State on Feb. 18.

Season tickets for Gaucho basketball will be available soon. For information, please call 805-893-UCSB. To view the complete 2016-17 men's basketball schedule, click here.