A year after recording one of the most memorable campaigns in school history, the UCF men’s basketball team will face a challenging schedule in 2011-12 as head coach Donnie Jones announced the Knights’ slate Tuesday. The Knights will play at least 16 games against squads that participated in the postseason a year ago.
Last year, during Jones’ first campaign in Orlando, UCF won 21 games, registered impressive non-league victories over No. 16 Florida, Miami, USF and Princeton, entered the national rankings for the first time in program history and participated in the postseason College Basketball Invitational.
In 2011-12, the Knights will play 17 regular-season contests at the UCF Arena, including a game against Old Dominion on Dec. 17. The Monarchs have played in two-straight NCAA Tournaments and went 27-7 a year ago. In Conference USA play, UCF will host NCAA Tournament participants Memphis (Jan. 18) and UAB (March 3), as well as UTEP (Feb. 25), an NIT team last season.
Fans can ensure that they are at the UCF Arena in 2011-12 to be a part of one of the best college basketball atmospheres in the country by purchasing their season tickets today by calling (407) UCF-1000 or by visiting UCFAthletics.com. Last season, fans flocked to the UCF Arena to support the Knights as the program established several attendance records. Special premium seating options, ranging from club seats to luxury suites are also available by calling the Golden Knights Club at (407) 823-2086.
UCF will open the regular season on Nov. 12, hosting Saint Thomas. Two days later on Nov. 14, the Knights will head to Tallahassee to face Florida State for the first time since 1988. The Seminoles won 23 contests last year and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.
Starting Nov. 24, the Knights will play three games at the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas. UCF will open the eight-team tournament against College of Charleston, which is coming off of an NIT berth. The Knights will meet either defending national champion Connecticut or NCAA Tournament participant UNC-Asheville the following day. Florida State, Harvard (NIT), UMass and Utah are also participating in the event.
“This year, our schedule is more competitive than it was last year. We want our non-conference schedule to be extremely challenging so it helps prepare us for conference play,” Jones said. “Conference USA, from top to bottom, is going to be very competitive this season. Every night is going to be a challenge, and that is a great thing for the conference.”
The Knights will again host the UCF Holiday Classic Dec. 29-30. UCF will face local foe Stetson to open the tournament, and then meet James Madison or Rhode Island the following day. Both James Madison and Rhode Island competed in the CBI last year.
UCF will play the first of eight home C-USA contests on Jan. 4 when Tulane visits the UCF Arena. Houston (Jan. 11) Southern Miss (Jan. 28), Marshall (Feb. 8) and East Carolina (Feb. 18) will also come to Orlando for league contests. The C-USA Championship will be held in Memphis from March 7-10.
UCF returns two of the top players in C-USA in juniors Marcus Jordan (Chicago, Ill.) and Keith Clanton (Orlando, Fla.). Jordan garnered All-C-USA Second Team honors in 2010-11 after averaging 15.2 points and 3.3 assists. An all-conference third team pick last year, Clanton averaged 14.2 points, 7.7 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game. The Knights return senior A.J. Rompza (Chicago, Ill.), who is among the school’s all-time leaders in both assists and steals, and also welcome several talented newcomers, including sophomore Tristan Spurlock (Woodbridge, Va.), who sat out last year after transferring from Virginia.
The Knights will play one exhibition game before opening the season as the team will host West Virginia Tech on Nov. 5.
Tipoff times and broadcast information for UCF’s games will be announced at a later date.