Saban dismisses claim that UCF shares national title with Alabama
UCF fans have demanded a matchup with Alabama ever since the Knights went through the 2017 season undefeated.
Their wish was granted ... sort of.
UCF defeated Bama on the hardwood. It’s the second straight year the Knights have toppled the Crimson Tide in men’s basketball.
There was plenty of social media attention prior to, during and after the game from UCF’s official athletic accounts and fans alike.
Even the NCAA’s March Madness official Twitter account got into the “We Want Bama” act to hype the game before it happened Thursday night.
The smack talk between both programs goes back to football’s offseason. UCF athletic director Danny White proclaimed the Knights national champions following a Peach Bowl victory over Auburn — the only team to have defeated both College Football Playoff national championship participants Georgia and Alabama in 2017 — to complete an undefeated season. UCF was the only unbeaten FBS team, and the Knights currently own a 24-game winning streak.
A championship parade ensued at Walt Disney World in Orlando, the city the school is located, as well as a championship banner and the NCAA officially recognizing the title in its record books. Alabama football players fired back on social media, and the offseason war of words involved former UCF football coach Scott Frost, who left to become Nebraska’s head coach after last season, Alabama head coach Nick Saban and the athletic directors for both programs.
When Alabama eliminated UCF in the Women’s NIT last season, Bama AD Greg Byrne threw shade at the Knights by tweeting it was a great win, but they’re not making it out more than it was and scheduling a Disney parade. That led to White responding that their policy is to always schedule a Disney parade when winning a New Year’s Six Bowl, which has happened twice in the last five years, but more power to them for wanting a parade after a WNIT win.
On Thursday night, the social media fodder from UCF following the win involved mentioning how the Knights won by a touchdown on the basketball court.
UCF guard B.J. Taylor, who scored 24 points in the victory, is friends with injured UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton and told reporters what he’s doing this season for Milton, who suffered a nasty right knee injury in last week’s victory over USF.
“The basketball team’s behind him, I’m behind him,” Taylor told reporters.
“... The biggest thing is keeping him in good spirits, and just know that me, I’m doing everything I can on the basketball court for him this year. I’m dedicating a lot of the season to him, because it’s not just about the football team. UCF’s a whole family.”
Taylor also said Milton is a huge basketball fan. UCF is distributing 40,000 leis to fans for Saturday’s American Athletic Conference title game against Memphis in honor of Milton, who is a native Hawaiian.
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