Preview: Knights Open 2019-20 Saturday

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ORLANDO –  The UCF men's basketball team will hit the court for official game action on Saturday, the first outing for the Knights since Aubrey Dawkins' tip-in rolled off the rim in a second-round NCAA Tournament loss to Duke.
The 2019-20 season tips off at 3 p.m. at Addition Financial Arena when UCF hosts Prairie View A&M with coverage on ESPN3 and FM 96.9 The Game.
UCF head coach Johnny Dawkins begins his fourth season as the Knights' head coach with 11 players on the roster who have never played a game in a UCF uniform.
Date: Saturday, Nov. 9
Time: 3 p.m. ET
Radio: FM 96.9 The Game

For the first two games of the season, tailgating for UCF men's basketball is back. For Saturday's opener, fans can tailgate on Memory Mall from 1:30-3 p.m. Additionally, for Tuesday's game against Miami, there will be tailgating from 6-9 p.m. To sign up, click here.

It's also Oveido's Hometown Team game, so all fans from Oviedo are encouraged to come out and show support for the hometown team and watch Oviedo native Matt Milon in his debut for the Knights.

Students can pickup a voucher for the new Knightmare World Tour t-shirt. Vouchers can be redeemed Tuesday night at the game against Miami.
SETTING THE SCENE                                                             

  • The UCF men's basketball team begins action in 2019-20 after the most succesful season in program history in 2018-29.
  • The Knights went 24-9, earned their first at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament and picked up their first NCAA Tournament win, a 73-58 first-round triumph over VCU.
  • As a nine seed, it was the highest seed in program history and UCF nearly took down top overall seed Duke, before falling in the final moments on a missed tip-in that rolled around the rim.

 HISTORIC SEASON                      

  • UCF made its first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 2005 and set the program's Division I era record with 23 regular season victories.
  • The Knights defeated multiple ranked teams in 2018-19, the first time doing so in program history. UCF defeated no. 6 Houston on the road and then returned home to top no. 19 Cincinnati in back-to-back games.
  • UCF made the Top 25 itself in the penultimate week of the regular season, earning a national ranking the furthest into a season in program history.
  • The team's 13 American Athletic Conference wins were the most since joining the league and the most in any conference since going 13-7 in the Atlantic Sun back in 2004-05.

 THREE YEARS OF UNPRECEDENTED SUCCESS                                                            

  • Johnny Dawkins has led the Knights to the second-winningest three-year stretch in UCF history, holding a 67-34 overall record since taking over the Knights.
  • The only better run during UCF's Division I era was when the Knights went 70-26 from 2002-05 as members of the Atlantic Sun.
  • Dawkins' 67-34 mark is the best first three seasons by a UCF head coach in program history.

 NEARLY A WHOLE NEW SQUAD                                                      

  • The 2019-20 squad is going to look a whole lot different to fans of the Knights, as BJ Taylor, Tacko Fall, Chad Brow, Aubrey Dawkins and others are gone from last year's team.
  • The only returning players with experience as Knights are Collin Smith, Frank Bertz and Ceasar DeJesus.
  • UCF returns the fourth least percentage of scoring in the nation, bringing back just 19.7 percent from last year's squad, led by Smith's 264 points from a season ago.
    • Tulane - 12.2%; South Dakota State - 16.9%; Virginia Tech - 18.1 %; UCF - 19.7%
  • In fact, UCF brings back just 22 percent of minutes played, 20 percent of rebounds and 19 percent of three-pointers made from the 2018-19 team.

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