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UCF Men’s Hoops Set to Start Conference Play

The 9-3 Knights take on 8-3 Temple in their AAC opener.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round-Duke vs UCF Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

The Knights start conference play on New Year’s Eve against the Temple Owls. Tip off is scheduled for 2pm at home in Additional Financial Arena. UCF went 9-3 in non-conference play with two of their three losses coming in quadrant one and two games against Oklahoma and Penn. Both of those losses were by one point. The Knights are currently #91 in the NET rankings.

This may be the toughest the AAC has been in basketball from top-to-bottom since it’s inception. The only conference team with a losing record is East Carolina and they’re 6-7. As a whole, the American is 7th in terms of Net Rankings of all 32 conferences. Eight of the twelve AAC teams are top-100, four are top-50, and two are top-15. There will be no easy wins for UCF this season but they’ve already shown they can compete against top competition.

Johnny Dawkins has really spread out playing time through the first twelve games. Dazon Ingram, the Crimson Tide grad transfer point guard, leads the Knights in minutes per game at just 28.8. Two young players who have benefited by the share of minutes are redshirt freshman guard Dre Fuller and true freshman guard Darin Green. Both players are the future of the program so it’s nice to see them having a strong impact early on.

After Temple (8-3), the Knights travel to Houston (10-3) and to Dallas to take on SMU (9-2) before returning home to take on Cincinnati (7-5). There’s no doubt that the next four games will definitely show us what Johnny Dawkins’ team is made of. Can UCF make another run at the NCAA tournament?