The UCF men’s basketball team’s inaugural campaign in the American Athletic Conference will be a challenge, but will also provide fans with the most exciting schedule in program history. Head coach Donnie Jones announced the Knights’ schedule Wednesday and some of the top teams in the country will visit CFE Arena in 2013-14 for league games.
The Knights will make their debut in The American on New Year’s Eve when they host defending national champion Louisville. UCF will face each of its conference foes twice, with marquee home league contests against Temple (Jan. 4), Memphis (Jan. 29), cross-state rival USF (Feb. 5), UConn (Feb. 9) and Cincinnati (Feb. 19).
UCF will play 17 total contests on the new blacktop floor at CFE Arena, including a Nov. 13 game against Florida State which will mark the Seminoles’ first visit to campus. Season tickets start at just $96 and a new youth season ticket is now available for only $49. Order season tickets today at UCFKnights.com or call (407) UCF-1000.
“We are so excited about the new conference and our schedule. The talent level of the teams that we will face night in and night out in The American is exceptional,” Jones said. “We have played great teams in the past, but now each night we will have to compete on a consistent level.”
Each of UCF’s 18 conference games will be nationally televised, with ESPN2 airing the league opener against Louisville and the game in Orlando against UConn. The Knights will have at least 20 contests broadcast nationally during the season.
Overall, the Knights will play 12 contests against squads that participated in the 2013 NCAA Tournament, including a Nov. 21 game in Coral Gables against Miami. The matchup with the Hurricanes is one of two non-league contests for the Knights in south Florida as the team will also face Florida Atlantic on Dec. 3. The Knights will play perennial NCAA Tournament squad Valparaiso twice – in Indiana on Nov. 26 and at CFE Arena on Dec. 22 as part of the Jackson Hewitt UCF Holiday Classic.
“Our non-conference schedule is a good mix of teams that play different styles. We will face some great teams like Miami, Florida State and Valpo. The non-conference schedule will really prepare us for conference play,” Jones said.
UCF will open the season on Nov. 8, hosting Tampa. The Knights’ first conference road game is set for Jan. 11 at UConn. Jones’ team will visit Louisville on Feb. 1 and head to Tampa to meet USF on Feb. 15.
The Knights return four talented veterans from last season’s team that won 20 games. The group is led by Isaiah Sykes, who paced the country with two triple-doubles in 2012-13. The guard is joined by fellow seniors Calvin Newell and Tristan Spurlock and junior Kasey Wilson.