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August 21, 2013UCF's highly-anticipated 2013-14 basketball schedule was released on Wednesday.
Long touted as the best slate in school history, the Knights' inaugural season in American Athletic Conference will feature a minimum of 20 nationally televised regular season games, including their league debut against national champion Louisville on Dec. 31 inside Orlando's CFE Arena.
All 18 conference games, plus a pair of non-conference contests against Florida State and Miami, will be televised by ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNews or CBS Sports Network. That's a huge increase from last year's total when only four games were nationally televised during UCF's final season as a member of Conference USA.
"We are so excited about the new conference and our schedule," UCF coach Donnie Jones said in a release. "The talent level of the teams that we will face night in and night out in The American is exceptional," Jones said. "We have played great teams in the past, but now each night we will have to compete on a consistent level."
In all, the Knights will play 12 games against teams who competed in last year's NCAA Tournament.
The season tips off against the University of Tampa on Friday, Nov. 8, which is the eve before the football team's homecoming game against Houston. The homestand continues with games against Florida State (Wednesday, Nov. 13) followed by Bethune Cookman (Sunday, Nov. 17).
The Knights then go on the road for a trio of games: Miami (Thursday, Nov. 21), Valparaiso (Tuesday, Nov. 26) and Florida Atlantic (Tuesday, Dec. 3).
UCF won't leave the friendly confines of the CFE Arena for the rest of their non-conference slate with contests against Stetson (Saturday, Dec. 7), Howard (Wednesday, Dec. 11), Jacksonville (Tuesday, Dec. 17), Rio Grande (Saturday, Dec. 21) and Valparaiso (Sunday, Dec. 22).
"Our non-conference schedule is a good mix of teams that play different styles," Jones said in a release. "We will face some great teams like Miami, Florida State and Valpo. The non-conference schedule will really prepare us for conference play."
Beginning Dec. 31 and ending Mar. 7, UCF will play their nine fellow members of the American - Cincinnati, UConn, Houston, Louisville, Memphis, Rutgers, USF, SMU and Temple - on a home-and-home basis.
The first two league games will be in Orlando: The Tuesday, Dec. 31 game against Louisville will tip at 5 p.m. on ESPN2, then UCF hosts Temple on Saturday, Jan. 4 at 4 p.m. on ESPNews.
The first road games of conference play include stops at UConn (Saturday, Jan. 11, 6 p.m., ESPNU) and Rutgers (Wednesday, Jan. 15, 7 p.m., ESPNews).
January's schedule concludes with a home game against SMU (Saturday, Jan. 18, 12 noon, ESPNews), a road game at Cincinnati (Thursday, Jan. 23, 9 p.m., CBS Sports Network) and home game against Memphis (Wednesday, Jan. 29, 7 p.m., ESPNU).
UCF's return trip to Louisville is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 1 at 9 p.m. and will be televised by ESPNU.
The first matchup against USF will take place inside the CFE Arena on Wednesday, Feb. 5 at 7 p.m. with coverage on ESPNews. The homestand continues on Sunday, Feb. 9 when UConn visits for a 6 p.m. tip in a game that will be aired by ESPN2.
After that it's a pair of road games: Memphis (Wednesday, Feb. 12, 9 p.m., ESPNU) and USF (Saturday, Feb. 15, 4:30 p.m., ESPNews).
UCF then hosts Cincinnati (Wednesday, Feb. 19, 7 p.m., ESPNU), goes on the road to play Houston for the first time (Saturday, Feb. 22, 2 p.m., ESPNews) and returns home for Rutgers (Wednesday, Feb. 26, 7 p.m., ESPNU).
The regular season concludes in March with road games at SMU (Saturday, March 1, 4 p.m., ESPNews) and Temple (Tuesday, March 4, 6:30 p.m., ESPNews) and the home finale against Houston (Friday, March 7, 7:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network).
The American Athletic Conference Championship is scheduled for March 12-15 at Memphis' FedEX Forum.