At 8-5 and 2-2 in the Big West Conference after 13 overall games, the 2003-04 season has certainly been interesting for the UCSB men’s basketball team. One with wins that the team wouldn’t trade for anything and losses that the team has quickly had to put behind them. Behind any 8-5 team lies telling numbers; statistics that stand out as indicators of where a team is, where they need to be and what they need to do to get there. Here are several significant numbers for the Gauchos.

Senior Branduinn Fullove’s points per game average, well below his season average of 14.6 points per game a year ago. Granted, Fullove has only played in eight games this season, and this number should pick up as conference play continues, but as the number one option on offense for the Gauchos, few people expected him to shoot just 6-22 from beyond the arc or have more turnovers than assists.
18-0, 11-0

Runs allowed by UCSB against Long Beach State and Utah State, respectively, during which the Gauchos were held scoreless for a significant period after earning their largest leads of the night. UCSB bounced back quickly, with wins in both games immediately following, but it remains to be seen if the Gauchos will play the full 40 minutes.

The rank of UCSB’s scoring defense within the Big West Conference, behind only #1 Utah State. The Gauchos are allowing a stingy 61.8 points per game. They are also second in the conference in scoring margin, outscoring opponents by an average of 3.5 points per game. This is good because it gives the Gauchos the confidence that more often than not, they will be able to come up with a defensive stop. The challenges for the Gauchos will be to sustain that effort throughout the entire game, and to supplement it with more consistency out of their talented offensive players. The Gaucho offense ranks ninth in the Big West, with no Gaucho listed in the top 10 in scoring.

Junior Joe See’s rank in the Big West for three-point shooting percentage. Also, arguably, the number of feet from the arc where See takes his three point shots. Simply put, his range is ridiculous, and his reactions from the crowd are immeasurable. Over the past few years, Thunderdome crowds have more often been able to cheer big three-point buckets than monster dunks, and See will likely get the crowd on their feet quite a few more times and spark the Gauchos to an offensive rhythm. On the road, silence is golden.

There are many more things to consider when assessing the Gauchos in the second half of the season, but two things are certain. The defense for the Gauchos is good, and will need to remain at a high level to ensure second-half success, while the offense needs the most improvement. Several players have the ability and the determination to rise to the occasion for the Gauchos in this way, and if successful, the Gauchos will enter the Big West Tournament as a dangerous opponent. Then, only two numbers will matter: #1 in the Big West, and the number of an NCAA Tourney seed.