Mar 9, 2012; Memphis, TN, USA; UCF Knights head coach Donnie Jones in the game against the Memphis Tigers during the second half of the semi finals of the Conference USA Tournament at the FedEx Forum. The Memphis Tigers defeated the UCF Knights 83-52. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-US PRESSWIRE

NIT Bracket 2012: UCF Blown Out In First Round By Drexel

Both Drexel and UCF had March Madness aspirations this season, but both were left out and Drexel is rather unhappy about its exclusion. The second-seeded Dragons host the Knights tonight at the Daskalakis Athletic Center in Philadelphia

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NIT Tournament, Drexel Vs. UCF Final Score: Knights Blown Out By Drexel 81-56

At halftime the Central Florida Knights trailed the Drexel Dragons 37-24 at halftime, struggling to put the basket in the hoop and stopping Drexel from sinking three-point shots. The second half didn't go much better for the Knights as the Dragons just continued to roll and put the rout to Central Florida. The Dragons finished up with an 81-56 victory and move on to the next round of the NIT Tournament.

It's a disappointing loss for the Knights, as they get bounced from the first round of the Tournament. Keith Clanton finished up the loss with 12 points on the night, including six rebounds. Tristan Spurlock and Kasey Wilson both picked up nine points off the bench for the Knights. For Drexel, Chris Fouch finished up with 19 points while Frantz Massenat nearly picked up a double-double with 18 points and 9 assists.

For more on the 2012 NIT, visit this StoryStream. For more on the UCF stick to SB Nation Tampa Bay.

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NIT Tournament, Drexel Vs. UCF Score Update: Knights Trail 37-24 At Halftime

The Central Florida Knights are taking on the Drexel Dragons in the first round of the NIT Tournament in Philadelphia. At halftime, the No. 3 seeded Dragons lead the No. 6 seeded Knights 37-24 as Central Florida has struggled to put the ball in the basket shooting just 31 percent from the floor. Keith Clanton led the Knights in scoring in the first half with nine points while Isaiah Sykes and Kasey Wilson both added five points.

For Drexel, three players have picked up eight points in the first half. Frantz Massenat, Damion Lee, and Chris Fouch all picked up eight points, Fouch off the bench. The dragons shot nearly 60 percent from the three-point line, which is an area the Knights will need to defend if they want to get back into the game.

For more on the 2012 NIT, visit this StoryStream. For more on the UCF stick to SB Nation Tampa Bay.

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Dissed Drexel To Host Knights

"There must be a lot of people on the basketball committee that don’t know too much about basketball,‘’ coach Bruiser Flint said. "They just got to look at what’s on their paper. If we’d have played a couple tougher teams, maybe we’d have had a stronger (RPI)

Needless to say, Drexel is pissed. They won 19 straight games, 25 of 27, and were the regular season champs of the Colonial Athletic Association and yet were left out of March Madness and were not even named as a top seed in the NIT. Their last loss was a three-point loss in the conference title game to Shaka Smart and the VCU Rams, who earned the honor of representing the conference in the NCAA tournament.

Drexel’s impressive season was built off the strength of an unblemished 13-0 home record which included a six-point victory over VCU and went 11-3 on the road while going 1-3 against top 50 teams. Unfortunately, Drexel did not play enough tough teams as their strength of schedule was 230th in the country and that was the final straw for the NCAA selection committee.

Drexel has four players averaging at least ten points a contest this season led by sophomore guard Frantz Massenat who is averaging 13.6 points per contest thanks to a deadly combination of accurate free throw shooting (82 percent) and 3-point accuracy (44 percent). Drexel also has at least seven players averaging at least 20 minutes a game which speaks to their bench depth while UCF has just five players as their depth has been lessened by academics.

UCF comes into the NIT for the first time in school history licking their wounds from a second thrashing at the hands of the Memphis Tigers in two weeks. Like Drexel, UCF’s record was built on the strength of a strong performance at home where the Knights went 16-1 including a win over Memphis, but were a disappointing 3-8 on the road this season. One of those road wins came against the University of Connecticut when the Huskies were ranked fourth overall in the country, but those losses also include games at Louisiana-Lafayette and Rice. UCF’s strength of schedule was 84 on the season as they went 3-7 against teams in the Top 50 with wins over UCONN, Memphis, and Marshall while their overall RPI was 13 points better than Drexel’s at 55.

UCF has not lost back to back games since the end of January, but an inconsistent road team traveling to a dominating home team is one reason why odds-makers has made Drexel a seven point favorite in the game tonight that is being broadcast on ESPN3.

Tip-off is at 7:15p ET tonight.

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NIT Bracket 2012: UCF Will Take On Drexel

The 2012 NIT Bracket was released Sunday evening, and the Central Florida Knights (22-10) earned a No. 6 seed and will take on the No. 3 seed Drexel Dragons (27-6) on Wednesday, March 14, at 7:15 p.m. on ESPN3.

UCF is no doubt disappointed they were left out of the NCAA Tournament, but a strong showing in the NIT would still be a rewarding conclusion to Knights season. Last season, the Knights missed out on both the NCAA Tournament and the NIT Tournament, but did make it to the semifinals of the CBI Tournament where they lost to Creighton. The Knights will now face off against Drexel in the first round of the NIT Tournament.

Drexel had an outside shot of making it into the NCAA Tournament, but their bubble was burst. Drexel was the Colonial League regular season champ, but went down to VCU in the Colonial Tournament Finals.

For more on the 2012 NIT, visit this StoryStream. For more on the UCF stick to SB Nation Tampa Bay.

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