Head Coach: Johnny Dawkins
Location: HP Field House
Mascot: Knightro, Pegasus and the UCF Knight
Last time out: Beat William & Mary
Typical Rotation Depth: 8-10
Line: UCF by 4
4 Factors: Getting to the line
Tempo: Slow enough to keep Tacko Fall on the court as much as possible
Style: Getting to the lane; making you take bad shots
Impress your friends fact: If people thought enough of UCF, and the AAC they would include the 0-4 Knights along with the Huskers in the "Power 5" teams to never have won a NCAA tournament factoid that tears at your soul
Impress your friends fact: This is the first time UCF and Nebraska have faced each other
Impress your friends fact: HP Field House, the ESPN/Disney synergy arena at Disney World is less than 35 miles away from UCF's campus
Nebraska: Thomas Allen: Questionable
UCF: Aubrey Dawkins, BJ Taylor: Out. Terrell Allen: Probable
Miles mentioned that Allen wouldn't have played vs St John's except we ran into foul trouble. While he came in and sank his first 3, his mobility has been limited. He's probably in "Use in Case of Emergency" status for the tourney. We know who Dawkins is; he was expected to start for this team and is out for the year. Taylor was the starting PG and arguably their best offensive player. He's out for a few weeks with a broken f
Player to watch: Dayon Griffin
You probably already know about Tacko Fall so let's move on. Griffin is a transfer from Louisiana Tech where he lit it up from inside and outside for a 56.3 eFG% (Would have easily led the Huskers last year). Thus far Griffin has been struggling, hitting only 22% from outside. However, the amount of volume that UCF continues to give him indicates they expect him to break out sooner than later.
The Skinny: We tend to play fast and loose in these early tournament games and that is probably what we want to shoot for in this game. Tacko Fall has only played 15 minutes this year but probably will be a full go in this game. At 7'6" he is one of the best defensive players in the NCAA and anchors a UCF squad that guards without fouling and patiently waits for you to take a bad shot. The Huskers will want to get out in transition as much as possible to attempt to keep the Knights from setting up. UCF should generate little pressure on the guards so most of the turnovers generated by Nebraska will be self-inflicted. Given how good the Knights will be on the defensive boards with Fall, bruiser Chad Brown and AJ Davis (Dale Davis' son) the Huskers can't afford to give away possessions.
On defense the Huskers will have to contend with Fall's high accuracy dunking as well as almost all of the guards making their way to the FT line at will including AAC freshman of the week Ceasar DeJesus. DeJesus currently starts alongside Drexel transfer PG Terrell Allen. Chance McSpadden off the bench provides an offensive punch as well. At this point the Knights are stinking it up from outside to the tune of 24.5% as a team. Is Nebraska still everyone's shooting slump buster? It's going to be a long night if UCF gets hot from outside. Miles talked early on about running zone during these stretches where you play multiple games in a short period. This certainly seems like a team you can zone even with the less exotic 2-3.
UCF has looked ok in their first 3 games without Fall but probably are a slightly overrated as losing Taylor was a big blow. Can Nebraska take advantage of this? The big problem I see is that all those FT attempts we've been generating probably aren't going to be there on Thursday so it comes down to taking very good care of the ball and making shots. Is this a team that can make shots? With all due respect to North Datoka's slump busting defense, they really haven't shown it.
Prediction: UCF 70 - Nebraska 61