UCSB basketball, Big West Tournament

CBB Review hands out awards for each conference tournament in 2023. Up next: The Big West Tournament.

Featured image credit: UCSB basketball Twitter

In Ariel Puterman’s Big West Tournament preview, he predicted a Cal State Fullerton vs. UC Santa Barbara final. He was on the money, with UCSB defeating Cal State Fullerton to punch their ticket to the NCAA Tournament. While Cal State Fullerton won the conference last year, UCSB is making their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 2021.    

CBB Review Big West Tournament Outstanding Player

Ajay Mitchell, UC Santa Barbara 

Ajay Mitchell is the star of the Gaucho program, and he showed it in the Big West Tournament. In three games played, he averaged 24.0 PPG, 3 RPG, and 5.3 APG. In the championship matchup against the Titans, the sophomore guard scored 20 points and shot 8-of-12 from the field. 

CBB Review All-Big West Tournament First Team

  • G: Latrell Wrightsell Jr., Cal State Fullerton – 3 games played (17.0 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 1.7 APG)
  • G: Ajay Mitchell, UC Santa Barbara – 3 games played (24.0 PPG, 5.3 APG, 3.0 RPG, 1.0 SPG)
  • G: Flynn Cameron, UC Riverside – 2 games played (22.5 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 5.5 APG)
  • G: Max Jones, Cal State Fullerton – 3 games played (16.7 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 2.7 APG)
  • F: Brantly Stevenson, Cal Poly – 2 games played (23.0 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 1.0 APG)

UC Santa Barbara’s NCAA Tournament Prediction

Round of 64

UCSB is no stranger to the bright lights of March, as they’ve gone to the Big Dance or NIT six different years in the 21st century. They’ve got a pretty good offense, led by Ajay Mitchell and Miles Norris, but it’s almost entirely reliant on shots inside the arc. The Gauchos only make 5.3 3PM per game, which ranks 343rd in the nation. Defensively, they’re good within the arc but have a porous perimeter defense. They’re also less than stellar at the art of rebounding. It’ll take a very beneficial matchup for the Gauchos to advance in the tournament, and I don’t think they’ll do it, especially against a Scott Drew coached Baylor team.