In the American Athletic Conference standings, UCF (7-5, 0-1) finds itself in the middle of the pack in terms of overall record.

However, over the course of the next two months it is going to get a better sense of where it stands. With the new year comes the start of American Conference play — which opened with a 56-54 loss to Tulsa Wednesday. While the American might not get respect on the national stage on the football field, on the basketball court it features a collection of some of the nation's most-elite programs.

The Knights face a brutal three-week stretch in mid January, in which they face SMU, Tulane, Memphis, UConn, Cincinnati, Temple and SMU to close out the month. UConn is the defending national champs, SMU has one of the best coaches in the history of basketball in Larry Brown and Memphis and Cincinnati are notoriously strong programs.

UCF's dynamic freshmen backcourt of B.J. Taylor and Adonys Henriquez are in for a tough test. Taylor and Henriquez are first and second on the team in scoring and three-point percentage.

If UCF hopes to work its way up the American ladder, it will need some big-time performances from its two guards.

Next five home games

Jan. 11, 2015 vs. SMU

Jan. 14, 2015 vs. Tulane

Jan. 25, 2015 vs. Cincinnati

Jan. 28, 2015 vs. Temple

Feb. 11, 2015 vs. USF