The UCF Knights nearly pulled off on Sunday what many did not think could happen: Knock off Goliath.
UCF’s role in their game against Duke reminded me a lot of one of my favorite movie characters in Rocky Balboa. You root for underdog who is going up against the star in Apollo Creed. Like Balboa did in the original Rocky movie, UCF lost a gut-wrenching decision in a classic battle.
But while UCF came out on short end in scoreboard, theres no doubt that the UCF Men’s Basketball program is now known nationally. In the following days, UCF was part of the national conversation as the national media was still talking about the game. While most of focus was on Duke’s performance, that does not mean there was no chatter about UCF.
Let’s start with national media’s immediate reaction following the game Sunday, which the UCF Men’s Basketball Twitter account did a great job of recapping:
On Tuesday, UCF Men’s Basketball Head Coach Johnny Dawkins appeared on ESPN’s “Get Up” with Mike Greenberg:
Miss Coach D on Get Up! this morning? We got it for you right here pic.twitter.com/T7PmRDP0cw— UCF Men’s Hoops (@UCF_MBB) March 26, 2019
On Monday, UCF was one of the main topics being talked about by the national media. But unlike when Football was the focus last year, which was met with mixed reactions of positive and negativity over the National Championship claim, UCF Basketball has received nothing but praise from the media:
Here’s Stephen A. Smith praising Aubrey Dawkins on his ESPN Radio show:
ESPN’s TV show “First Take” discussed if UCF showed the blueprint to beat Duke:
Former NBA great Reggie Miller appeared on the Dan Patrick Show on Monday and talked about Tacko Fall being an NBA prospect:
National Radio show host Colin Cowherd talked with Doug Gottlieb about the late game non-calls on Duke:
On Monday’s edition of ESPN’s “Get Up” the cast discussed the Duke-UCF game and ESPN’s analyst Jay Williams even suggested that Johnny Dawkins should be the next Head Coach at Duke when Coach K retires:
That is just a sample of the national conversation on UCF. Isn’t it great to hear national media talk about UCF without any National Title jokes or negative tone?
In the movie “Rocky” in 1977, Rocky Balboa was given no chance to beat Apollo Creed. He ended up losing a split decision to Creed but came away more well-known, respected and celebrated. He would get a rematch in “Rocky 2”, winning the fight and the Rocky series would end up as one of most successful movie franchises in history.
Let’s hope Sunday was also the start of a successful run for the UCF Basketball program on the national scene.