Men's Hoops NIT Bound, Hosts South Florida in First Round Tuesday

by Ken Landis
NIT Bracket

ORLANDO – The UCF men’s basketball team returns to the postseason for a second consecutive season and for the fourth time in the last eight campaigns. The Knights will be the No. 4 seed in the bottom right portion of the National Invitation Tournament bracket and host South Florida on Tuesday, March 19 at 9 p.m. inside Addition Financial Arena.

UCF will participate in the NIT for the fourth time in program history and the third under head coach Johnny Dawkins, who has brought the Black and Gold to four postseason appearances in eight seasons at the helm (2017 NIT Semifinals, 2019 NCAA Tournament Second Round, 2023 NIT Second Round, 2024 NIT).

The Knights earned 17 wins in their first year as a member of the Big 12 Conference and are one of 32 teams in the 2024 NIT bracket, a path that leads to Hinkle Fieldhouse, Butler’s home gym, for the NIT semifinals and title game on Apr. 2-4.

UCF earned its most ranked wins in a campaign this season by tallying three, beating No. 3 Kansas, No. 23 Oklahoma and No. 23 Texas Tech, all in Orlando. The mark topped the previous best of two, which was achieved by the 2018-19 NCAA Tournament team.

The berth into this year’s NIT joins UCF’s previous appearances in the 2011-12, 2016-17 and 2022-23 campaigns. Last season saw the Knights enter the NIT with an 18-14 record and travel to Gainesville for the first round to trounce the Gators on their own floor. The Knights earned an 18-point victory over Florida, holding them to 49 points which was the lowest the Gators had scored in their home arena since 1962. In 2016-17, UCF reached the NIT by going 21-11 during the regular season and marched all the way to the semifinals at Madison Square Garden after beating Colorado and Illinois at home and Illinois State on the road. UCF fell to TCU in the semifinals that year.

Coach Dawkins has a record of 15-3 across five NIT appearances as a head coach, winning titles in 2012 and 2015 with Stanford. He brought UCF to the semifinals in his first season at the helm of the Knights, while the other two appearances have seen him reach the second round.

The winner of the postseason edition of an old rivalry series between UCF and South Florida face the winner of No. 1 Villanova and VCU in the second round on either Mar. 23 or 24. The Knights have won 12 of the last 17 contests against their rivals to the west.

Seats for UCF basketball season ticket members will be reserved until Mon., Mar. 18 at 2 p.m. for the NIT First Round. Any unpurchased seats will be released for the general public at 3 p.m. Please note, NIT tickets are non-refundable and cannot be exchanged. Premium seats will be sold at a rate of $50 while any non-premium seats will be priced at $20.

Season ticket members can reserve their seats here.

General public can purchase tickets here now.

The first 500 student tickets will be free, courtesy of 4Ever Knights and UCF Student Government. Tickets can be claimed on a first come, first serve basis.

Knightmare Society Members can claim a ticket beginning at 10 a.m. on Monday 3/18. All UCF students can claim a ticket starting at 11 a.m. Monday 3/18.

After the first 500 free student tickets have been distributed, all student tickets will be available for $10 each. UCF students can claim or purchase up to two (2) tickets. Students must use their offical email address.