Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Orlando Johnson appeared on the preseason Wooden Award list for a reason—he's one of the nation's best players.
Currently averaging 23.8 points per game, Johnson has scored 1,740 career points and is one of the best rebounding guards in the country. He poured in 36 points and snatched 10 boards in the Gauchos' narrow loss to UNLV last week.
Because of Johnson's dominance throughout his three years in Santa Barbara—he transferred from Loyola Marymount—fellow senior James Nunnally has been somewhat overshadowed.
However, Nunnally has been right behind Johnson every single season they've played together and is averaging 18.7 points through six games this year.
Add up the duo's scoring averages, and you'll see they account for 42.5 points per game. Santa Barbara averages 82.
In other words, Johnson and Nunnally account for more than 50 percent of the Gauchos' points.
So, yes, an off night from either could put Santa Barbara in peril. Early on, though, the duo has risen to the occasion, combining for 50 points at UNLV and 42 at San Diego State.
Santa Barbara has two more key seniors in Jaime Serna and Greg Somogyi—a 7'3" shot-blocker—but the rest of the core is young. Offering reason for more optimism, the freshmen and sophomores have been responsible with the ball early on, and the team is averaging just 10.8 turnovers per game, which ranks No. 10 nationally.
We don't know how much those freshmen and sophomores will mature over the next few months, but we do know that Johnson and Nunnally can keep the Gauchos in any game.
Long Beach State is an obstacle in the Big West, but Santa Barbara beat the 49ers in last year's conference championship and is certainly equipped to do so again.