Knights, Nevada Set to Open New Arena

Nov. 9, 2007

Complete Release in PDF Format

ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - History will be made on Sunday when the UCF men's basketball team hosts national power Nevada in the inaugural game at the new UCF Arena. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m.

One of the finest facilities in the country, the new UCF Arena has room for 10,000 fans and has several top amenities, including luxury suites, a state-of-the-art scoreboard and sound system and numerous concession options.

The Knights went 22-9 last year and finished second in Conference USA. Head coach Kirk Speraw's squad will face a tough challenge in Nevada. The Wolf Pack won 29 games in 2006-07 and are currently receiving votes in both national polls.

Tickets for the game are available at all Ticketmaster outlets and at the UCF ticket office at Bright House Networks Stadium. On Sunday, tickets will be on sale at the new UCF Arena box office.

Season tickets are currently available by calling 407-UCF-1000. One lucky season ticket holder will get to drive home from the new UCF Arena in a brand new 2008 UCF edition Mazda CX-9, courtesy of Classic Mazda, the presenting sponsor of this year's season ticket drive. UCF fans who purchase two season tickets will be automatically entered into a drawing to win the Mazda CX-9.

UCF-Nevada will be broadcast live on the UCF ISP Sports Network and its flagship station, 740 The Team in Orlando. Marc Daniels will have the call and Scott Adams will add insight during the broadcast. Live audio and statistics will be available at www.ucfathletics.com.

? The contest with Nevada will serve as the Knights inaugural game at the new UCF Arena. The Knights will play 16 regular-season contests at the 10,000-seat facility this season, including eight non-conference contests.
? UCF has claimed four-consecutive season openers and is 21-17 all-time to open the year. The squad is 15-8 when it opens the season at home.
? Under head coach Kirk Speraw, the Knights are 9-5 in season openers, including a 7-2 mark in Orlando.

? Kirk Speraw (Iowa, 1980) is in his 15th season as UCF's head coach. He owns a 231-187 record at UCF. In his 18th year as a head coach, he has a 313-208 mark. In 2006-07, he was named the Conference USA Coach of the Year.
? In his fourth season at Nevada and overall as a head coach, Mark Fox (Eastern New Mexico, 1991) is 81-18.

? UCF and Nevada have never met on the hardwood. The teams will play twice this season, as the Knights will meet Nevada in Reno on Dec. 16.
? All-time, the Knights are 2-4 against schools from the Western Athletic Conference. UCF has won two-straight games against WAC schools. Both of the wins came in November of 2005 when the Knights topped Utah State (55-52) and New Mexico State (62-58) on their way to the BP Top of the World Classic title in Fairbanks, Alaska.
? The two schools are no strangers to each other. UCF faced the Wolf Pack on the gridiron in the 2005 Sheraton Hawaii Bowl. Nevada claimed a 49-48 overtime victory on Christmas Eve, spoiling UCF's first bowl appearance.

? Last season, the Wolf Pack went 29-5 overall and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Nevada has played in four-consecutive NCAA Tournaments.
? The Wolf Pack finished 2006-07 ranked 15th in the final Associated Press poll. They were ranked every week during the year and climbed to as high as ninth in the coaches' poll and 10th in the AP poll during the season.
? The team is currently receiving votes in both the Associated Press Top 25 and the ESPN/USA Today Top 25 polls.
? Nevada returns one starter and a total of nine letterwinners from a year ago. Guard Marcelus Kemp is a candidate for the John R. Wooden Award, which is annually presented to the nation's top player. In 2006-07, he averaged 18.4 points.

? After playing Nevada, the Knights return to action on Friday, Nov. 16, hosting Norfolk State at the new UCF Arena.
? The Knights have a 1-0 advantage in the all-time series with Norfolk State.

? UCF returns nine letterwinners and three starters from a year ago, when the squad went 22-9 overall and 11-5 in league action to finish second in Conference USA.
? The Knights return 63.7 percent of their scoring from last season.
? Jermaine Taylor (12.7), Mike O'Donnell (10.3) and Dave Noel (9.1) are the squad's top returning scorers.

? The Nov. 11 contest with Nevada will mark the earliest start to a season in UCF history. The Knights' previous earliest start to a campaign occurred on Nov. 13, 1998, when UCF hosted Rollins.
? A year ago, head coach Kirk Speraw's squad began the season on Nov. 15 against Rollins.

? The last time that the Knights played an inaugural game in a new venue, the squad was victorious in its opener at the old UCF Arena. On Nov. 29, 1991, UCF defeated Campbell, 82-74.
? UCF was coached by Joe Dean at the time and went 9-7 in its first year at the 5,100-seat facility.
? In the opening game win over the Camels, Ken Leeks paced the Knights with 19 points. Leeks recorded the first field goal in the arena at the 19:30 mark in the first half.
? The attendance was listed at 1,281 for the contest.

? The Knights played their final game at the old UCF Arena on March 3, 2007, posting a 77-64 victory over East Carolina.
? In 16 years at the venue, UCF went 143-81.

? The new UCF Arena will serve as the third permanent home for the UCF men's basketball team. In the 1970s and 1980s, the program played inside the Education Gym on the UCF campus. In 1991, the Knights moved into the old UCF Arena.
? During the early years of the program (1969-1976), the squad played at several high schools in the area, including Oviedo and Winter Park.

? The game with Nevada will mark the second time this academic year that UCF has opened a new athletics facility. On Sept. 15, the Knights hosted Texas in the inaugural football contest at Bright House Networks Stadium on campus. The Longhorns escaped with a 35-32 victory. The game served as the first football game on the UCF campus as the Knights previously played at the Florida Citrus Bowl in downtown Orlando.

? The Knights have won 14-straight contests in the month of November and are 21-2 during the month dating back to the 2001-02 season.
? UCF's last loss during the month was a 72-63 defeat at the College of Charleston on Nov. 25, 2003.
? In 2006-07, the team went 6-0 in November.

? In 14 seasons under head coach Kirk Speraw, UCF has never opened a season on a Sunday. Since 1993, the Knights have played season openers on Tuesday (2), Wednesday (1), Thursday (1), Friday (9) and Saturday (1), but never on a Sunday.
? Last season, UCF did not play a game on Sunday.

? UCF was picked to finish sixth in Conference USA in the league's preseason coaches' poll, which was released in October. Memphis was tabbed to win the league and Houston and UAB tied for second. Southern Miss (4) and Tulsa (5) were selected ahead of the Knights.
? Prior the 2006-07 campaign, UCF was picked to finish seventh by the league's coaches. The Knights proved the coaches wrong, going 11-5 in conference play to finish second in the league.

? UCF boasts one of Conference USA's top backcourts. Dave Noel and Mike O'Donnell are both back for their senior seasons and will provide leadership for the Knights.
? One of the top 3-point shooters in the league, O'Donnell averaged 10.3 points and 3.7 assists per game in 2006-07. The point guard shot 43 percent from deep, which ranked second in the league.
? Noel shined at the shooting guard spot last year, averaging 9.1 points, 3.8 boards and 2.9 assists. As a sophomore in 2005-06, he served as a backup point guard for the Knights. He was among the nation's leaders in free-throw percentage last season (85.4).

? In October, UCF's players selected Mike O'Donnell as the team's captain. Last season, he shared the captain duties with Josh Peppers.

? In two years with the Knights, Jermaine Taylor has appeared in all 50 of UCF's games, but has never made a start. This season, Taylor is expected to crack the starting lineup.
? The guard/forward averaged 12.7 points in 25.2 minutes last year. He ranked second on the team in scoring and was among the best shooters in Conference USA (47.4 percent overall; 41.4 percent from 3-point range).
? Taylor registered six 20-point games and paced the Knights in scoring 12 times.
? As a rookie in 2005-06, he averaged 4.3 points while shooting just 39.5 percent overall and 30.4 percent from 3-point range.

? The Knights will face the toughest non-league schedule in program history in 2007-08. UCF will meet teams that played in the postseason last season on at least four occasions in non-league play. The Knights will meet Nevada (NCAA) twice and also play Villanova (NCAA) and Ole Miss (NIT). UCF could also face several squads that competed in the postseason a year ago at the Old Spice Classic in late November.
? UCF will play three squads from the BIG EAST and at least one team from the Southeastern Conference.

? UCF will play 20 games in the state of Florida this season, including 16 at the new UCF Arena.
? In addition to Orlando, the squad will play three games in Lake Buena Vista at the Old Spice Classic and one game in Tampa at USF. ? The Knights will not leave Florida until mid December when they play at Nevada (Dec. 16).
? In 2006-07, UCF played 16 games inside the state, all at home.
? The 20 regular-season games in Florida are the most for the Knights since 1997-98, when they also played 20.

? In August, UCF's Kenrick Zondervan spent time practicing with the Dutch Senior National Team. The center spent a week with the squad in Holland as it prepared for the qualifying round of the EuroBasket Tournament.
? The team featured several professional players, most notably center Francisco Elson. Elson plays for San Antonio in the National Basketball Association.
? Zondervan showed great improvement as a sophomore with the Knights last year, starting 30 games and averaging 3.9 points and 2.8 boards. As a freshman, he averaged just 2.5 minutes in 18 contests.
? During the offseason, Zondervan was one of several Knights who shined in the weight room. He was listed at 215 pounds prior to last season. Zondervan now weighs 250 pounds.

? The Knights played a pair of exhibition games before starting the regular season, recording a pair of wins over Division II teams in Orlando. UCF topped Florida Southern, 83-57, on Nov. 6. The squad made its debut at the new UCF Arena on Nov. 3, topping St. Leo (86-78).
? Mike O'Donnell averaged 25 points in the preseason games while shooting 66.7 percent from 3-point range. Jermaine Taylor scored 21.5 points per game in the tuneups.
? Last year, the Knights competed in just one preseason game.

? UCF introduced a new brand-identity effort in the spring that featured new logos. As a result, the Knights have new uniforms designed by adidas this season.
? The uniforms feature the UCF wordmark on the front of the jersey and the new Knight Head design on the shorts.

? This year, the Knights will make a school-record five national television appearances during the regular season. Overall, seven UCF contests will be televised during the year.
? All three of the Knights' games at the Old Spice Classic in November will air on ESPN2 or ESPNU. UCF's Thanksgiving day game at the event with Villanova will be televised on ESPN2.
? The Knights have never had a regular-season game broadcast on an ESPN network.
? Two of the team's games, versus Connecticut on Dec. 28 and at Memphis on Feb. 9, will air nationwide on CSTV. UCF will also make a pair of regional appearances on Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast.