The non-conference schedule for next season continues to come together. Jon Rothstein tweeted that Alabama and Central Florida (known more commonly as UCF) will begin a home-and-home series next season, with the first game in Tuscaloosa and a return trip to Orlando in the 18-19 season. UCF is coached by former Duke player/assistant coach and Stanford head coach Johnny Dawkins. The Knights finished 24-12 last season, making it to the NIT semifinals before losing to eventual champion TCU.
UCF is expected to contend in the American Athletic Conference (AAC) this season. The Knights return three starters from last season's team, including leading scorer B.J. Taylor (17.4 ppg, 4 rpg, 3.5 apg, 1.1 spg) and 7'6 big man Tacko Fall (10.9 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 2.6 bpg). The expectation in Orlando is that UCF will contend for an NCAA bid this season. This is yet another tough addition to the non-conference schedule.
To review, the non-conference schedule looks like this so far:
Canadian trip in August
vs Memphis [Veterans Classic in Annapolis, MD] - This game will likely be the season opener on November 10.
Barclays Classic [Two host games in Tuscaloosa, likely against mid-major competition; two games in Barclays vs Umass, BYU or Minnesota]
Rhode Island [Tuscaloosa]
vs Texas [Birmingham]
That's a solid non-conference schedule, and could be a top 50 SOS if the teams pan out, specifically teams like Texas and Oklahoma that are looking to bounce back from disappointing 16-17 seasons. You get three very good home games in Tuscaloosa, another compelling match-up in Birmingham and some fun neutral court games. I also expect that the team will return to Huntsville this season after a successful trip there last season. I'll keep an eye out for other games being added to the schedule, but it's coming together quickly, and we could have an official release as soon as sometime in June.