Have you ever heard of Murphy’s Law?
While I joke and say it’s “Don’t mess with Mrs. Murphy,” Murphy’s law is really that anything that can go wrong can and will go wrong.
Murphy had his way tonight as the South Florida Bulls might have given UCF Knights head coach Johnny Dawkin his most lopsided loss in his time at UCF as the Bulls never trailed and defeated the Knights 75-51.
The game opened slowly for both teams as each struggled to find any rhythm. Between bad shots and dibbling issues, both teams combined for five turnovers within the first three minutes of the game. UCF managed to tie the game at 8 points apiece and then the wheels fell off. The Bulls went on an 11-2 run and while the Knights were able to bring it to within four points, the Bulls had an answer and slowly pulled away. Within three and a half minutes, the Bulls opened up a ten-point lead, which incited the crowd and gave South Florida a definite home-court advantage. The Knights tried to cut the lead down at the of the half, but the Knights couldn’t get any closer than seven and went to the locker room down 35-26.
The second half didn’t get any better. Both teams struggled again to start the half, but for every basket the Knights made, the Bulls made two. The 9-point halftime deficit became 16 within five minutes. After another five minutes, it was 17 points. After fifteen minutes in the second half, the deficit ballooned to 25 points. The Bulls emptied the bench and the crowd exploded with Mark Calleja sinking a pair of free throws to end the game. When the dust settled, it was a 24-point deficit at 75-51.
This was a catastrophic loss for UCF’s chances in the NCAA tournament. Going into tonight’s game, UCF was the last team in on Joe Lunardi’s bracketology. That’s no longer the case.
UCF’s NET ranking going into the game was 52 while South Florida’s was 258. But as of Sunday morning, the Knights have dropped to 85th. UCF is going to need some serious magic to garner anything better than an NIT bid and it’s shaping up that the American will be a one-bid league this year.
The Knights were paced by CJ Walker, who scored nine points, all in the first half. He was also the leading rebounder with four while Darius Johnson had three assists. Johnson also had three steals. Despite shooting 1/5 from behind the arc, Johnson gets the stud of the night, scoring eight points along with the above in 25 minutes of play. The dud of the night does to Isaiah Adams, who despite getting the start, was the only player for the Knights who didn’t score, going 0/4 from the field in 15 minutes of play.
UCF (10-5, 2-3) travels next to Greenville, North Carolina, to take on the East Carolina Pirates, who just did this to Memphis: