The UCF Knights Men’s Basketball team is in the AP Top 25 for the first time since 2011.
The Knights came in right at #25 following their defeat of now-#12 Houston over the weekend:
The Knights are also receiving votes in the USA TODAY Coaches’ Poll, two slots out of the top 25, and are 29th in the latest NET rankings with two games to go.
Bracketologists buy in
Perhaps more indicative of the significance of UCF’s win has been their performance among the bracketologists this week.
According to Bracket Matrix, UCF is now listed in all 110 brackets it has aggregated as of March 4th, with an average seed of 9.22, good enough to make them one of the four 9-seeds by average, alongside Ole Miss, VCU and Oklahoma. They are listed as high as a 6 and no lower than a 12. Among the highlights:
- ESPN’s Joe Lunardi: 9-seed (vs. Washington in Salt Lake City)
- SB Nation’s Chris Dobbertean: 9-seed
- Delphi (rated the most accurate by Bracket Matrix): 12-seed
- KPI: 6-seed (UCF’s highest seed listed)
UCF’s last two games are also NET Quadrant 1 games, at home against NET #21 Cincinnati and at NET #57 Temple, both of whom are listed in Bracket Matrix’s rankings (Temple as the last at-large 12-seed and Cincinnati as a 7-seed).
Been a long time
This is the latest in the season that the Knights have been ranked.
UCF’s last and only time being ranked in the AP Top 25 was early in the 2010-11 season, when UCF started 14-0 with wins over #18 Florida at Amway Center, South FLorida (then in non-conference play), and Miami. The Knights won their conference opener against Marshall and peaked at #19 before dropping their next eight and falling out of the rankings after four weeks.
UCF finished that year 21-12 but 6-10 in Conference USA, losing in the first round to ECU. The Knights accepted a bid to the CBI Tournament and won two home games against St. Bonaventure and Rhode Island to reach the semifinals before losing at Creighton.
The entire season then got blown up in the record books due to A.J. Rompza’s ineligibility.
UCF (22-6) faces the #20 Cincinnati Bearcats (25-4) on Senior Knight at CFE Arena at 7 p.m. Thursday night on ESPN2.
Cincinnati and Houston are currently tied for first in the conference at 14-2 with two games left. UCF is 12-4, alone in 3rd place. The Knights lost to Cincy by 5 on the road in their previous meeting. It was UCF’s last loss.