Record: 9-8, 2-4 AAC
Head Coach: Donnie Jones
UCF comes into their only match-up with UConn this season with a 9-8 record, 2-4 in the American. Both victories in conference have been in overtime for the Knights, coming against Houston and Tulane. In their 79-78 overtime win over Houston, sophomore Brandon Goodwin had his best game of the season, scoring 30 points while adding seven rebounds and five assists. Against Tulane, the Knights outlasted the Green Wave, winning 103-100 in triple overtime behind freshman B.J. Taylor's 33 point, six-rebound performance.
While UCF has four losses in conference, they have played everyone tough, except in their latest game against Memphis, which they lost by 20. The Knights lost to Tulsa 56-54, Temple 84-78 and SMU 70-61. One of the main reasons for UCF not being blown out is their offense.
This is a team that plays with a lot of guards who like to get out and run when they can. UCF ranks first in the American in both points per game and 3-point percentage. They are averaging 70.2 points and shooting 38.1 percent from three.Defense has been the major concern for Donnie Jones' team, as they rank last in the conference in points allowed (73.4; 324th in nation) and field-goal defense, allowing teams to shoot 45 percent from the field.
#1 B.J. Taylor, Freshman, Guard (6-2, 200): One of the top freshman in the American, Taylor is averaging 14.9 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game over an average of 32.7 minutes. The freshman guard was asked to contribute immediately to this program as a scorer, something he did in high schoolm averaging 34.5 points per game his senior year, earning runner-up for Mr.Basketball in the state of Florida. Taylor was known for his strong pick-and-roll game rather than being a shooter, but he has dismissed those concerns, shooting 40.3 percent from deep on the year. He has scored in double figures in all but four games this season and is averaging 16 points per game in conference play.
#10 Adonys Henriquez, Freshman, Guard (6-6, 210): The other freshman who has made a significant impact for the Knights, Henriquez is averaging 11.5 points and 3.5 rebounds per game in 35.1 minutes. He has started all 17 games this season, and Jones calls him "as talented as anyone on the team." The 6-foot-6-inch freshman has a very good feel for the game and can get hot from deep, shooting 42.4 percent on the season. The only question for Henriquez is his defense. He can score almost whenever he wants; he just needs to learn how to defend. Henriquez has scored in double figures in all but five games this season and is averaging 12 points per game in conference play.
#11 Brandon Goodwin, Sophomore, Guard (6-1, 180): The third player for the Knights who is averaging double figures, Goodwin is averaging 10.5 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game in 32.7 minutes. He has started all 17 games this season and will share point guard duties with Taylor, allowing for either to play off the ball. Not known as a shooter (12-for-34 from three on the season), Goodwin put on about 15 pounds of muscle over the summer, allowing for him to be a more effective driver and finisher. He has scored in double figures in UCF's last five games and is averaging 14.2 points and 3.3 assists per game in conference play.
#4 Daiquan Walker, Junior, Guard (6-2, 185): The sixth man for UCF, he is averaging 7.7 points and 2.1 rebounds per game. Walker was asked to do more for this team on the offensive end this season, and he has done well off the bench, shooting 42 percent from three. The junior guard can play on or off the ball, giving Jones another option at point guard. Walker is coming off his season high of 18 points on 8 of 11 shooting in their loss to Memphis and is averaging 9.5 points per game in conference play.
#34 Justin McBride, Sophomore, Center (6-10, 325): The big fella has been incredibly efficient this season, averaging 7.1 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in just 13.9 minutes. McBride lost about 25 pounds over the summer, which has helped him stay on the court for longer periods at a time, but he still needs to lose more weight to reach his ultimate potential. He has good hands and good feet which has led to him shooting 52.7 percent from the field. McBride has scored in double figures four times this season, including a 31-point performance in 22 minutes in UCF's win over Bethune-Cookman. He is averaging 7.7 points and 6.5 rebounds in conference play.
#32 Kasey Wilson, Senior, Forward (6-7, 235): The team's only senior who gets significant minutes, Wilson is averaging 6.7 points and 4.5 rebounds on the season. He started 22 games last season and has been asked to score inside and out this season. Wilson can be a mismatch guy and has the ability to stretch the floor as he is 15-for-46 from behind the arc this season. He has scored in double figures five times this season and is averaging 6.5 points and 5.5 rebounds in conference play.
UCF is coached by Donnie Jones who is in his fifth season with the team where he is 64-60. Jones led UCF to three straight 20-plus win seasons from 2010-2013, however, UCF had their wins vacated from the 2010-11 season after it was ruled that they had an ineligible player. Before UCF, he coached at Marshall, where he went 55-41, for three years. Overall, Jones is 119-101 and has never made it to the NCAA tournament.
He did have this to say about UConn and the American: "Last season, a lot of people didn't know what the American Athletic Conference was. But when UConn won the national championship, it gave us all instant recognition." :D