While it may take a while for Florida and Miami to play again in football, it appears the two schools are close to resuming a series in men’s basketball.
Florida associate athletic director Mike Hill confirmed a Miami Herald report that Miami and Florida are talking about resuming a home-and-home series that could begin next season.
“Nothing has been finalized yet,” Hill said.
Miami and Florida last played in the 2009 NIT, with the Gators winning 74-60 at the O’Connell Center. The two schools last played a home-and-home series in 2005 and 2006, with Miami winning 72-65 in the O’Connell Center and Florida winning 77-67 at the BankUnited Center in Coral Gables.
The Hurricanes are coming off a 17-15 season after reaching the Sweet 16 in 2013 under head coach Jim Larranaga. Florida coach Billy Donovan and Larranaga are friends and faced each other in the 2006 Final Four, when Donovan’s Gators knocked off Larranaga’s George Mason Patriots en route to the first of back-to-back national titles.
A matchup with Miami would add to a challenging non-conference schedule which includes games at Kansas (Dec. 5), vs. Wake Forest (Dec. 20 in Sunrise), at Florida State and vs. Connecticut (early January). Florida returns one starter and seven scholarship players overall from a team that went 36-3 and reached the Final Four for the fifth time in school history.
According to Barry Jackson’s sports buzz column in the Miami Herald, the two schools would play in Gainesville this November and in Coral Gables in 2015-16. It makes sense, considering the O’Connell Center is expected to undergo major renovations in the fall of 2015. Florida is trying to schedule a number of road games during that span while the O’Dome gets transformed into a more modern basketball arena.