The UC Santa Barbara men’s basketball team was a unanimous pick as the favorite to win the Big West in a poll of the conference’s 11 coaches.

The Gauchos return several players from last year’s team, including Big West Freshman of the Year Ajay Mitchell. Other key returnees are Miles Norris a Big West Honorable Mention choice last season, Josh Pierre-Louis and Ajare Sanni.

Boosting UCSB’s line-up is transfer Andre Kelly from Cal, where he was a Pac-12 Honorable Mention selection. 

Following behind the Gauchos in the Preseason Poll in order are Hawai’i, Long Beach State, UC Irvine, UC Riverside, UC Davis, Cal State Fullerton, CSU Bakersfield, Cal Poly, UC San Diego and CSUN. 

The Big West also announced its Preseason Team, which includes Mitchell and Kelly.

The Gauchos open their 2022-23 season on Monday, Nov. 7 against San Francisco State at the Thunderdome.

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Barry Punzal, Sports Editor

— Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at bpunzal@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.