Sept. 7, 2010
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By Doug Richards
Click here to order your season tickets for the 2010-11 campaign
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - New UCF men's basketball head coach Donnie Jones announced his team's 2010-11 schedule Tuesday, and the Knights will meet squads that participated in the postseason a year ago on 14 occasions. Jones, who was named UCF's head coach in March, will make his debut at the helm of the program on Nov. 12 when the Knights host West Florida.
The Knights will play a school-record 17 contests at the UCF Arena, including Conference USA matchups with UAB (Jan. 29), Memphis (Feb. 9) and Tulsa (Feb. 12). UCF will open C-USA play on Jan. 5, hosting Jones' former program, Marshall.
Season tickets, which begin at just $96, are currently available by calling the UCF ticket sales office at (407) UCF-1000 or by visiting UCFAthletics.com. With each season ticket order, fans will receive a free 2010-11 Knightmare t-shirt.
The non-league schedule features two contests against squads that participated in the postseason last year. On Dec. 1, the Knights will face NCAA Tournament participant Florida in the first collegiate contest at the Amway Center in downtown Orlando. UCF will also host cross-state rival USF on Nov. 18 at the UCF Arena. The Bulls played in the postseason National Invitation Tournament in 2010.
In total, the Knights will play 12 non-conference games in the state of Florida. Other notable in-state contests include a showdown with Miami on Dec. 18 in Orange Bowl Classic in Sunrise, and a game at local foe Stetson on Nov. 23. UCF and the Hatters have played on 35 occasions all time, but the Knights have not played in nearby DeLand since 2005.
"Scheduling is always a difficult task, especially when you are new and have some games to fill late," Jones said. "But we are very excited about this non-league schedule. I think that the strength of the schedule gives us a chance to really play some big-time programs. I think that our non-conference schedule is really going to prepare us to play the type of opponents we will face in Conference USA."
The field for the UCF Holiday Classic, which will be held Dec. 29-30, is the strongest in the event's history. The Knights will open the tournament against Furman, and then meet either Northeastern or Princeton the following evening. Northeastern played in the NIT last spring, while Princeton was selected to the College Basketball Invitational. UCF's lone trip outside the Sunshine State before conference play begins will come on Dec. 22 when the squad visits UMass.
In addition to UAB, Memphis, Tulsa and Marshall, the Knights will also host league foes East Carolina, Rice, Southern Miss and SMU. Jones' team will conclude the regular season on March 5 at Marshall. The C-USA Championship begins March 9 in El Paso, Texas.
Two C-USA teams that the Knights will face on the road - Houston and UTEP - were NCAA Tournament participants in 2010. Memphis, Tulsa and UAB all played in the NIT and Marshall and Southern Miss both competed in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.
Before starting the regular season, UCF will host Flagler for an exhibition contest on Nov. 6.
A rising star in the coaching community, Jones spent three seasons at Marshall. In 2009-10, he led the Thundering Herd to 24 victories and the school's first trip to the postseason in 22 years.
The Knights return some of the top players in C-USA, including junior guard A.J. Rompza (Chicago, Ill.), sophomore forward Keith Clanton (Orlando, Fla.) and sophomore guard Marcus Jordan (Chicago, Ill.). Both Clanton and Jordan were C-USA All-Freshman team picks last season.
Jones has brought an impressive recruiting class to UCF, highlighted by the arrivals of junior-college transfer forward Dwight McCombs (Chicago, Ill.) and freshman guard/forward Isaiah Sykes (Detroit, Mich.).
In 2009-10, UCF established several attendance records at the state-of-the-art UCF Arena. With excitement surrounding the program at an all-time high, expect more attendance records to be set this upcoming year.