The UCF men’s basketball program has given its non-conference schedule for the next two seasons a significant boost.
It was announced Thursday that the Knights will visit the Michigan Wolverines this season, with the teams completing their home-and-home series in Orlando in 2021. The specific dates for these games have not been set.
Michigan went 19-12 overall, 10-10 in the Big Ten last season under first-year head coach Juwan Howard. They should be a top-25 contender in the upcoming season.
Since the start of the 2012-13 campaign, the Wolverines have appeared in five Sweet Sixteens, three Elite Eights and two national championship games.
I would argue that this is the UCF Knights’ most attractive non-conference regular season matchup since they faced No. 3 Villanova in the championship game of the Charleston Classic on Nov. 20, 2016. Since then, UCF has squared off against a fair share of notable names — Miami, West Virginia, Missouri, Alabama, Oklahoma — but in Michigan, you’re talking about one of the 20 best men’s basketball programs of all time and one of the sport’s most important programs of the past 30-plus years.
With UCF carrying a pretty loaded 2020-21 roster featuring returnees such as Collin Smith, Darin Green Jr. and Dre Fuller Jr., Mr. Florida Basketball freshman Isaiah Adams, and five-star transfer C.J. Walker (assuming he’s eligible), this has all the makings of a very entertaining showdown between two teams that have never met each other on the court.
So, let’s hope it happens. Even as conferences such as the Ivy League, the Patriot League and the MEAC have chosen to cancel fall sports, no one has made a decision on what to do with winter sports such as basketball yet. That uncertainty is basically why this home-and-home series doesn’t have dates attached to it.
For now, besides the addition of Michigan, UCF’s 2020-21 non-conference slate consists of a home game versus Quinnipiac on Nov. 18 followed by two games in Connecticut as part of the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament: Nov. 21 against Minnesota and Nov. 22 against either Marquette or Rhode Island.