UCF currently ranks 41st in the nation
ORLANDO, FLORIDA – After the Knights had their home game against Tulane abruptly postponed Wednesday evening, the UCF men’s basketball team is set to return to action Saturday, now on the road, at rival South Florida at 7 p.m. on ESPN+.
UCF (3-2, 1-1) hasn’t played since last Saturday when the Knights fell at home to then 6th-ranked Houston by a score of 63-54.
The Black and Gold have wins over Cincinnati, Auburn, and 15th-ranked Florida State.
After winning four in a row, South Florida (5-4, 1-2) has lost back-to-back conference games.
The Bulls fell 82-77 in overtime at home to Wichita State on Dec. 22 and most recently lost at Memphis by a score of 58-57.
UCF and South Florida split the season series last year with each team winning on its home court.
The Feb. 1 victory for the Bulls was the first over the Knights since March of 2014, as UCF had won nine consecutive games in the series.
■ Date: Saturday, Jan. 2
■ Time: 7 p.m. ET
■ TV: ESPN+
■ Radio: FM 96.9 The Game
THE WAR ON I-4
The UCF and South Florida athletics departments made their rivalry official when the two programs created the War On I-4 Rivalry Series prior to the start of the 2016-17 year.
Each of the first four years of its existence, the Knights have won the series that pits the two departments against each other in each of the sports that they both have teams for.
Each basketball game is worth three points, so a win on Saturday would give UCF a 9-0 lead in the 2020-21 series after the Knights football team defeated the Bulls this past.
November to open things up with a 6-0 advantage.
CLASHING WITH #6 COUGARS
The Knights were tied with 6th-ranked Houston at halftime and trailed by just four points with 2:15 to go, but couldn’t pull off the upset on Saturday.
UCF turned the ball over a season-high 17 times, which led to 12 Houston points off of turnovers.
The Knights outrebounded the Cougars 38-28 but shot just 2-of-13 from beyond the arc.
Houston turned the ball over just 10 times and shot 20-of-26 from the free-throw line to secure the road victory.
SHOOTING SOLID FROM THE STRIPE
While they aren’t leading the nation like they were a couple of weeks ago, the Knights are still shooting at a solid clip from the free throw line this season, hitting 75.9 percent of their shots from the stripe.
UCF ranks 41st in the nation and second in the American Athletic Conference.
Compare that to the last couple of years, and it’s impressive. Last season, the Knights ranked 172 in the nation and sixth in the league with a mark of 71.1 percent.
In 2018-19, when UCF went to the NCAA Tournament, the team ranked 329th in the nation and 11th in the league with a 64.9 percent mark from the line.