Orange Bowl Classic Preview: UCF vs. Miami and Kansas State vs. Florida

Jim FolsomContributorDecember 17, 2010

KANSAS CITY, MO - NOVEMBER 23:  Rodney McGruder #22 of the Kansas State Wildcats in action during the CBE Classic championship game against the Duke Blue Devils on November 23, 2010 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

On Saturday, undefeated UCF (9-0) will take on Miami in the first game of the Orange Bowl Classic in Sunrise, Fla. The Knights will be looking for their third win over a BCS conference school from the state of Florida this season.

The Knights have three players averaging in double figures, Marcus Jordan, Keith Clanton and Isaac Sosa. Clanton scored 28 points against UL Lafayette on Wednesday to take over the team lead with a 17 points per game average. Jordan is averaging 15 and Sosa 10. Clanton is also averaging nine rebounds per game.

Miami is 7-2 with wins over Ole Miss and West Virginia. The Canes also boast of three players averaging in double figures in Malcolm Grant, Durand Scott and Reggie Johnson. Grant averages nearly 14 points per game. Scott averages over 13 and Grant 12. Johnson leads the team in rebounding with nearly 10 per game.

The winner will receive a nice resume boost for the NCAA Tournament. The Knights are a top 25 team in the RPI rankings so a win over them would be a boost for Miami. The Knights would have another win over a Big Six team which would put them one win over UMass away from going into C-USA play unbeaten.

In the second game Kansas State will take on Florida. The Wildcats sit at 9-1 with wins over Gonzaga, Virginia Tech and Washington State. Three Cats average in double digits. Jacob Pullen averages over 16 points per game, Curtis Kelly and Rodney Magruder average 11 apiece.  Magruder and Jamal Samuels both average six rebounds per game.

Florida is 7-2 with a win over Florida State on its resume. They have an entire starting five averaging in double figures. Chandler Parsons and Alex Tyus have stepped it up recently to join Erving Walker, Vernon Macklin and Kenny Boynton in averaging at least 10 points per game. Erick Murphy comes off the bench to average seven a game.

Both teams could use another signature win. The Gonzaga win for K-State does not look as good now as it did then. In their biggest game, the Cats were leveled by Duke, losing by 14.

Florida is in the same boat. Their biggest game so far, they were pounded by Ohio State by 19. Both these teams were thought to be Final Four contenders at the start of the season. The winner of this game is back on track. The loser is on bubble watch.