For the first time in program history, the UCF men’s basketball team will participate in the National Invitation Tournament.
The Knights, who earned a No. 6 seed in the 32-team event, will play at third-seeded Drexel at 7:15 p.m. Wednesday in Philadelphia. Drexel claimed the Colonial Athletic Association regular-season title and is 13-0 at home this year.
The Knights’ first-round contest with the Dragons, who enter the NIT with a 27-6 record, will air online on ESPN3.
“Receiving an invitation to the NIT for the first time is a tremendous step for our program,” UCF head coach Donnie Jones said. “The NIT has a great history, and earning an invitation to this tournament is a great honor. Drexel is a great team that has enjoyed a tremendous season, and it will be a great challenge to meet them on their home court.”
Jones, who is in his second campaign at UCF, has led the Knights to consecutive 20-victory seasons. The Knights are 22-10 this season and finished third in Conference USA.
With a win at Drexel, UCF would face either No. 2 Saint Joseph’s or No. 7 Northern Iowa in the second round. That game would be played between March 15 and 19.
The first three rounds will be played at the campus site of the higher seeds. The semifinals and finals of the NIT will be played at Madison Square Garden in New York on March 27 and 29.
The trip to the postseason is the latest first recorded by the Knights this season. During the regular season, UCF defeated a top-10 ranked team – No. 4 UConn – for the first time and recorded its first victories over C-USA foes Memphis and UAB. Last week, the Knights made their inaugural appearance in the C-USA Championship semifinals.
The NIT made its debut in 1938 and is currently organized by the NCAA.