Team preview: UC Santa Barbara

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(Information in this team report is as of October 1.)

UC Santa Barbara coach Bob Williams went to great lengths to recruit Chris Devine -- all the way to Alaska.

This is the year it's supposed to pay off.

After two seasons lost to various injuries, including a knee lesion that required season-ending surgery in 2004-05, Devine will play a pivotal role in the Gauchos' push toward a second Big West championship in four seasons. Or so Williams hopes.

"He's a really key addition if we can get him healthy, and he seems to be going in that direction," Williams said. "We're optimistic that he'll be healthy and ready to go."