Hands down, the most knowledgeable UCF fan out there is the aptly named Hoops McKnight. If you want to read up on the history of UCF basketball, the first place you should look is his Dribblings posts about the FTU/UCF teams from the late 70s and early 80s. Hoops talked about some new faces for the Knights, how close the soccer and basketball stadiums are, and of course Big East Expansion.
1. How is Donnie Jones doing in his first year in Orlando?
HM: So far exceeding expectations (especially after Monday's 80-39 win over Jackson State).
2. USF fans know about Keith Clanton, Marcus Jordan, and A.J. Rompza. Are there any new players USF fans should pay attention to Thursday night?
HM: Dave Diakite on the press is very athletic, and has improved his passing & dribbling skills. Isaac Sosa is the returning 3-point % leader in CUSA. Tom Herzog is a mobile 7' C transfer from Michigan State (4-star out of HS). Dwight McCombs is another inside presence, JUCO transfer. Isaiah Sykes is a true FR with all the tools.
3. How many times do you thank the basketball Gods for giving you the new UCF Arena? I went to a couple of games in the old barn, and its like night and day.
4. Big East Expansion is on a lot of minds for UCF fans. Do you think the Athletic Department has done enough to earn an invitation? Do you think UCF would accept a football only invite, and send the Olympic Sports to the A-Sun?
HM: Who knows? But we have upgraded almost every sport and every facility (especially the important ones) since the last round of expansion. We won't go FB-only - CUSA would kick us out, the ASun wouldn't take us back and we'd be a hard sell for any other conference.
5. Any predictions for the game?
HM: I like our chances. It was a close game at the end last year, we're better this year, and USF's best player is now in the NBA (granted Gilchrist wasn't playing last year). If we are able to play like we did Monday, we can play with any Top 25 team in the nation.
Bonus Question: How far is the soccer stadium from the UCF Arena, and how quickly can you get there on a light jog?
HM: The soccer stadium is literally right across the street from the Arena.
Thanks to Hoops for answering those questions. I'll have the preview up later today.