Men's Basketball Announces 2006-07 Schedule

Sept. 4, 2006

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ORLANDO - UCF men's basketball head coach Kirk Speraw announced the Golden Knights' 2006-07 schedule on Monday and the challenging slate features contests against six teams that participated in the postseason last year. The season will mark the program's final campaign in the UCF Arena as the Golden Knights will move into the new Convocation Center on campus in the fall of 2007.

UCF, which is entering its second year in Conference USA, opens league play against 2006 NCAA Tournament participant UAB on the road on Jan. 10. Four of the squad's first six C-USA contests are away from home, including games at Houston and UTEP. Both the Cougars and Miners played in the postseason NIT last year.

Speraw's team will play eight league games in Orlando, starting with a Jan. 17 matchup with SMU. Memphis, expected to be one of the premier teams in the nation this season, visits UCF Arena on Jan. 31. The Tigers narrowly missed the Final Four in 2006, falling to UCLA in the Elite Eight.

"Our conference schedule will be much more difficult than last year. This is by far the toughest conference schedule that I have faced at UCF," said Speraw, who is entering his 14th season at the helm of the Golden Knights. "Starting C-USA play with four of six on the road and facing many of the top teams in the league in January will be a challenge for our team, but one that we are excited about."

In league action, UCF will play East Carolina, Houston, Marshall, Rice and Tulsa both on the road and at home.

The Golden Knights open the campaign with six-consecutive games at home against traditional in-state rivals. The team will make its season debut on Nov. 15 against cross-town foe Rollins. After facing the Tars, UCF plays Stetson on Nov. 18. Bethune-Cookman, Florida Tech, Jacksonville and Florida Atlantic all make trips to Orlando early in the season.

In non-league play, UCF will visit Minnesota on Dec. 12 and Colorado on Jan. 3. A year ago, both squads played in the postseason NIT.

UCF is scheduled to participate in the San Juan Shootout in Puerto Rico, starting Dec. 19. The Golden Knights will play three games at the eight-team event and open the tournament against Utah. UCF will face either Appalachian State or Virginia on Dec. 20. Northwestern, Puerto Rico-Mayaguez, Tennessee Tech and Vanderbilt are also playing in the tournament. Both Vanderbilt and Virginia were selected to the NIT last season.

Three schools will visit Orlando in late December for the UCF Holiday Classic. The Golden Knights will open the tournament against the New Jersey Institute of Technology on Dec. 29. James Madison and Texas-Pan American are also participating in the tournament. Texas-Pan American is coached by former UCF associate head coach Tom Schuberth, who is entering his first season with the Broncs.

"The non-conference schedule was designed to help us prepare for Conference USA play," said Speraw. "We are playing some traditional powers like Utah and Minnesota and hopefully we will step-up to the challenge. The San Juan Shootout field is probably the best in that tournament's history and the event will be a great test for our team."

Houston and Rice will both play at UCF during league play. The Cougars won 21 games a year ago and are expected to compete for the C-USA title. Rice, with All-America candidate Morris Almond, has been projected to make the NCAA Tournament field in 2007.

Memphis, Tenn. and the FedEx Forum will serve as the host for the C-USA Championship in March.

The Golden Knights will face St. Leo at the UCF Arena in an exhibition game in early November. Tipoff times for all games and the date for the preseason game will be announced at a later date.

Season tickets are currently on sale. Call 407-UCF-1000 for more information or to purchase tickets.

UCF returns eight letterwinners from last season's team that went 14-15 overall and finished fifth in C-USA. Forward Josh Peppers, a preseason all-conference candidate, returns for his senior season along with junior Mike O'Donnell, one of C-USA's top point guards.

In the last four years, the Golden Knights have won 84 games, a mark that ranks 39th nationally and second among all programs in the state of Florida.