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UCF (9-13) at South Florida (12-13)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 15, 1:30 p.m. (ET)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Sun Dome (10,411) -- Tampa, Florida. Television: ESPNews. Home Record: UCF 8-6, USF 7-7. Away Record: UCF 1-7, USF 5-4. Neutral Record: UCF 0-0, USF 0-2. Conference Record: UCF 1-10, USF 3-9. Series Record: South Florida leads, 20-5.

GAME NOTES: A pair of Sunshine State rivals near the bottom of the American Athletic Conference standings meet at the Sun Dome on Saturday afternoon, as the UCF Knights come calling on the South Florida Bulls.

UCF's first run in its new league has not gone smoothly. The Knights, who were once a solid program in Conference USA, have gone just 1-10 in league play this year, which has them last in the AAC. They are also only 9-13 overall, with a bout against 10th-ranked Cincinnati next on the schedule.

South Florida has also struggled this season, with only three wins in 12 AAC contests. The Bulls have had more luck overall (!3-13), but with losses in seven of their last nine games, wins have become harder to come by in the second half of the season. They will take to the road to face 13th-ranked Louisville next.

Although it is new, this has the makings of an intriguing conference rivalry for years to come. The first bout between them as league foes certainly lived up to the billing as USF escaped with a 79-78 overtime victory on Feb. 5. The Bulls have won 20 of the 25 all-time meetings.

UCF hung around with 20th-ranked Memphis on Wednesday, but fell short in a 76-70 defeat. The Knights were outscored 18-8 at the free-throw line, while allowing the Tigers to shoot an even 40 percent from the floor. Tristan Spurlock posted 18 points and 10 rebounds in the setback.

While the Knights haven't picked up many wins and rank near the middle of the AAC in terms of offensive production (72.2 ppg, .439 FG percentage), they have done themselves proud on the glass. UCF is first in the conference and 24th nationally in rebounds (38.9 rpg), led by Isaiah Sykes. Sykes (15.7 ppg, 7 rpg, 3.6 apg) does a lot more than crash the boards, however, leading the team in scoring and assists as well. Against Memphis he tallied 14 points, but he hit just 6-of-16 from the field and turned the ball over seven times. Spurlock (10.7 ppg, 5.6 rpg) and Calvin Newell (10.6 ppg) lend support.

USF came nowhere near a victory in its last outing, losing in an 83-40 rout to 24th-ranked Connecticut. The Bulls only accumulated 12 field goals on 24 percent shooting, while being outscored 26-6 off of turnovers. No player scored in double figures, with Musa Abdul-Aleem netting a team-high eight points.

The Bulls' offensive effort has been even worse this season, as they are netting only 65.9 ppg and shooting 43.1 percent from the field. Those marks rank 10th and ninth, respectively, in the AAC. Victor Rudd (14.6 ppg, 6.6 rpg) is really the only consistent offensive force on the roster. However, Rudd managed only six points and two rebounds, while sinking just 1-of-9 from the field against UConn. The effort ended a four-game streak in double figures for the 6-foot-9 forward. Corey Allen Jr. (10.1 ppg, 3 apg) is the next best option.

Sykes and Rudd are the best players on the floor in this contest. What will make the difference is the supporting casts and venue. The Knights may have more skill on the roster, but they are just 1-7 on the road. Expect USF to find a way to win another close one.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: South Florida 72, UCF 69

02/15 10:48:32 ET

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Local
Final
UVA 27
UNC 28
Final
NCCU 42
SAVST 14
 
8:07pm Tonight
SFG
KAN
Final
WISC 52
MD 7
Final
SMU 10
MEM 48
Final
ILL 28
MINN 24
 
Final
RICE 41
UNT 21
Final
NEB 42
RUTG 24
Final
KST 23
TEX 0
Final
ARK 45
UAB 17
Final
UVA 27
UNC 28
Final
EMICH 17
NILL 28
Final
NAVY 41
SJST 31
Final
BST 35
AKR 21
 
Final
GASTATE 31
GASO 69
Final
TOL 42
UMASS 35
 
Final
WMICH 42
OHIO 21
 
Final
COL 37
UCLA 40
 
Final
UMO 10
KSU 3
 
Final
WAKE 17
BC 23
 
4th
BUF 14
CMICH 20
 
4th
MARS 28
FATL 16
 
4th
PITT 28
GT 49
 
4th
SMISS 13
LATU 24
 
4th
MSU 28
MICH 3
 
4th
KENT 24
MSST 31
 
4th
STAN 38
ORST 7
 
3rd
TCU 61
TTU 20
 
4th
OKST 10
WVU 20
 
3rd
WKENT 56
ODU 44
 
3rd
UTST 27
UNLV 13
 
4th
MIZZ 17
VANDY 7
 
2nd
UCF 24
TEMPL 14
 
1st
WASU 0
ARZ 10
 
7:00pm Tonight
CLEM
SYR
7:00pm Tonight
LAMON
TXST
7:00pm Tonight
TXSANANTO
UTEP
7:00pm Tonight
COLST
WYO
7:15pm Tonight
LSU
MISS
7:30pm Tonight
TENN
ALA
7:30pm Tonight
AUB
SCAR
8:00pm Tonight
PSU
OSU
10:00pm Tonight
UTAH
USC
10:45pm Tonight
WASH
ARST
11:59pm Tonight
HAW
NEV
Final
SJS 1
BUF 2
 
7:00pm Tonight
TOR
BOS
7:00pm Tonight
NYI
DAL
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PHI
DET
7:00pm Tonight
OTT
NJD
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MON
NYR
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CHI
8:00pm Tonight
NAS
PIT
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
TAM
9:00pm Tonight
ARI
FLA
10:00pm Tonight
CAL
WAS
Final
NCCU 42
SAVST 14