Lincoln – Nebraska will have a tall task at hand, as the Huskers will open the Advocare Invitational with UCF on Thanksgiving. Tipoff is at 5 p.m. (CT) and the game will be carried on ESPN3.
The pairings were announced by ESPN on Wednesday for the four-day tournament this November. The tournament takes place just outside Orlando at the HP Field House at ESPN Wide World of Sports. It will mark the first meeting in basketball between the two schools.
It will mark the third time in the last four years that NU has essentially played a road game in one of the neutral-site tournament. In 2014-15, the Huskers faced Hawaii in the opening round of the Diamondhead Classic, and NU faced UCLA in Fullerton, Calif., as part of the 2016 Wooden Legacy.
UCF, under the direction of Head Coach Johnny Dawkins, returns three of its top four scorers from a team that went 24-12 and reached the semifinals of the NIT. The Knights feature one of the nation’s top defensive players in 7-foot-6 junior center Tacko Fall, who averaged 10.9 points on 71 percent shooting, 9.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game as a sophomore. Fall was also the American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year, as he was 12th nationally in blocked shots (2.6 bpg) and anchored a UCF defense that led the nation in field goal percentage defense (.365). Guard B.J. Taylor led UCF at 17.4 points and 3.5 assists per game to earn second-team all-conference honors while A.J. Davis made 29 starts and averaged 8.3 points per game last year. In addition, the Knights have four Division I transfers eligible after sitting out last season.
The Huskers, under the direction of sixth-year Head Coach Tim Miles, welcome back nine letterwinners, including four players who started at least nine games last season. Junior guard Glynn Watson Jr. headlines the returnees, as he averaged 13.0 points per game, while junior forward Jack McVeigh averaged 7.5 points per game. NU also returns Evan Taylor, who started 21 games last season, and Jordy Tshimanga, who made nine Big Ten starts as a freshman in 2016-17. NU will also rely on a talented class of newcomers, including transfers Isaac Copeland (Georgetown), James Palmer Jr. (Miami) and Duby Okeke (Winthrop) and top-150 high school recruits Thomas Allen and Nana Akenten.