UCF got their assignment Sunday night during their watch party on campus:
The Florida Gators are the hosts of the four-team bracket as the #10 overall seed. They will play Alabama State in the first round, with the winner facing the winner of UCF and FSU. The first round is Thursday with the second round one day later.
The Seminoles were 19-9 this season, and 12-6 in the ACC, finishing in third place after being picked second in the preseason. They finished at #36 in the RPI (UCF was #24).
This will be a match-up of two of the three best blocking teams in the nation, with UCF at 3rd (2.96) in the nation in team blocks per set and Florida State in 2nd (3.00). FSU is led by 6-3 middle blocker Taryn Knuth, who is 4th in the country in blocks per set at 1.54.
UCF is just 8-28 all-time against Florida State. The last meeting was in 2016, a sweep loss in Orlando. UCF’s last win over FSU was in 1980, when the Knights won two of five meetings between the two schools that season. UCF at one point won 8 of 11 meetings between 1977 and 1980, but since then, UCF has lost 23 in a row to the Seminoles, but they’ve only faced each other nine times in the last 30 years, all in the regular season.
There is also a historical connection between the two programs: Lucy McDaniel, UCF”s first head coach who led the Knights to the AIAW National Championship in 1978, was a student-athlete at FSU, and the Seminoles’ court at their home facility, Tully Gym, is named for her.
UCF has won only two first-round tournament matches in the NCAA Tournament era, the last coming in 2003 in the O’Connell Center against (interestingly) the Cincinnati Bearcats in five sets. Cincinnati was in Conference USA at the time, and UCF coming off its third A-Sun title in a row. The other time was in 1997 against Clemson.
First serve Thursday is set for 4:30 p.m. at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center at the University of Florida.