After finishing in third place in the Big West Conference and losing in the conference tournament semifinals, the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos accepted a spot in the CBI and a trip to Tulsa, Okla., to face the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles. It will be the first meeting between the two schools
Santa Barbara won eight of their last 10 games and still have hopes to prove they are better than a disappointing loss in OT to Big West champion UC Irvine.
Oral Roberts will go without their star junior guard Korey Billbury who was suspended indefinitely in late February for player misconduct. He missed the last five games for Oral Roberts, and it is hard to know how much of a difference his 14 points and team-leading rebound and assist total were missed in the Summit League Tournament.
The Golden Eagles bowed out in the second round with a 60-56 loss to NCAA Tournament bound North Dakota State.
Both UCSB and Oral Roberts could be said to have underachieved this season, although the Golden Eagles were at least decent at home. They will be looking to score their 12th win of the season in Tulsa, something that hasn't happened since the 2007-8 season.
The key to stopping that will be UCSB's NBA prospect Alan Williams. He has the ability to take control of the game and dominate with his ability to score and rebound. Look for yet another double-double from the Gaucho star.
Prediction: UC Santa Barbara 78, Oral Roberts 70