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Dance Card: UCSB, Big West

Who? The Gauchos of UC-Santa Barbara.

What? Like most UC teams, their colors are blue and gold. And Gauchos is a little more inspired than Cowboys. (Sorry, Jessica.) Olé is one of the snarkiest mascots in the business. Also, I have always loved the hat.

Where? Santa Barbara, California, the American Riviera.

When? March 10th, at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. (I wonder if the secret base is still under there... yes, I have just admitted to one of my deepest, geekiest, most shameful secrets.)

Why? They won the Big West Conference tournament.

How? It went back and forth for a while, but Santa Barbara pulled away in the second half for a 63-54 win. Kirsten Tilleman had 16 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Gauchos.

Surprise? Historically, no. And they were the higher seed... it's just that that seed was 6, and Long Beach State was 7. They were, however, expected to finish high in the preseason poll.

RPI (as of 3/10 189

SOS (as of 3/10 196

Record: 17-15 (8-8 Big West)

Good wins: At UTEP.

Bad losses: At New Mexico State.

Who's running this show? Carlene Mitchell, since 2011. Formerly of Rutgers, and still commands some Scarlet loyalty. (And O HAI DERE, she brought one of my favorite Rutgers players along as an assistant. I always did like Heather Zurich- oh, if the dorms had been ready at St. John's, what could have been...)

I suppose if you're a hardcore stat head, the Santa Barbara stats page appeals to you, but it's not well organized for the casual fan who wants to find out just a little bit of statistical information.

It is probably not a good sign for the Gauchos that their leading scorer, senior guard Emilie Johnson, is a bit shy of the double-digit barrier (9.8 ppg). Junior post Kirsten Tilleman pulls down 8.3 rebounds per game. This team may be one year away.