UCF Men's Basketball 2012 NIT Capsule

UCF Knights
Conference USA (22-10, 10-6)

Coach Donnie Jones made the unorthodox move from Marshall to UCF a couple years ago and it took very little time to see why that was a good change for Coach Jones and UCF. In his first season leading the Knights, Jones took his team to the CBI semifinals. This year they took the next step.   

Big Wins: 11/25 vs Connecticut (68-63), 1/18 Memphis (68-67), 2/8 Marshall (67-60)
Bad Losses: 12/21 at Louisiana (60-61), 1/25 at Tulsa (61-66), 2/22 at Rice (74-83)
Coach: Donnie Jones (2 seasons at UCF)

Why They Can Surprise:
The Knights are built around the inside/outside duo of guard Marcus Jordan and forward Keith Clanton. Both are decent shooters who can hit the long ball. For Jordan, his shooting gives him space to attack the basket and finish above the rim. For Clanton, it helps out the entire team and can stretch out the opposing defense. Clanton, a 6-9 junior, is also a very good rebounder and shot blocker. Because of Clanton, UCF overall is solid on the glass and defensively under the basket. Isaiah Sykes, a 6-5 wing, helps out a ton in the rebounding department. But the key to the success of UCF this year has been the emergence of more scorers besides Jordan and Clanton. This is not a two player team anymore and Sykes has done a lot to change that. Sykes is not a shooter, but he will use his athleticism to get to the bucket. Forward Tristan Spurlock is another big man who can step outside. When needed, Spurlock can score in bunches and in a variety of ways.

Why They Can Disappoint:
A.J. Rompza is not one of those scorers, but he is the guy who finds the hot hand and makes things happen. However, sometimes good things just do not happen. UCF can find ways to lose games they should not lose. Sometimes it is poor free-throw shooting, sometimes it is turnovers at bad times, but whatever it is, the Knights have some difficult losses that could have easily gone the other way. This is not a strong shooting team from beyond the arc or at the charity stripe and that will be a cause for concern down the stretch of some tournament games when UCF needs to close out a close contest or catch up when they start falling behind to quality competition.

Probable Starters:
A.J. Rompza, Senior, Guard, 7.2 ppg, 4.4 apg, 2.4 spg
Marcus Jordan, Junior, Guard, 13.9 ppg, 2.4 apg
Isaiah Sykes, Sophomore, Guard-Forward, 12.5 ppg, 6.6 rpg
Keith Clanton, Junior, Forward, 14.6 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 1.8 bpg
Josh Crittle, Junior, Center, 4.7 ppg, 3.0 rpg

Key Roleplayers:
P.J. Gaynor, Senior, Forward, 4.2 ppg, 2.9 rpg
Tristan Spurlock, Sophomore, Forward, 7.2 ppg, 4.3 rpg
Kasey Wilson, Freshman, Forward, 2.9 ppg, 2.0 rpg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 66.5 (203rd in nation, 7th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 62.6 (62, 4)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.5 (168, 6)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.2 (129, 5)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.6 (218, 9)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 30.8 (266, 12)
Free-Throw Percentage: 62.7 (316, 11)
Rebound Margin: 3.7 (62, 4)
Assists Per Game: 11.6 (265, 9)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.7 (95, 3)

Last Five Postseason Appearances:
UCF    2011    CBI        First Round win over St. Bonaventure
UCF    2011    CBI        Second Round win over Rhode Island
UCF    2011    CBI        Semifinal loss to Creighton
UCF    2005    NCAA        Round of 64 loss to Connecticut
UCF    2004    NCAA        Round of 64 loss to Pittsburgh
UCF    1996    NCAA        Round of 64 loss to Massachusetts
UCF    1994    NCAA        Round of 64 loss to Purdue

*all team stats through 3/4

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