Florida will play at rival Florida State during a time year when few students are on campus.
Florida State released its non-conference on Thursday and announced it will face the Gators on Dec. 30 at the Donald L Tucker Center. If the timing of the game seems odd, there’s an explanation.
Normally, Florida likes to play rival Florida State the night before or week of the football game at the O’Connell Center, which usually falls around Thanksgiving. But Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton has always felt the basketball game between the two in-state schools should stand on its own merit, and has chosen for the most part not to schedule the same week of the football game when the game is held in Tallahassee.
Also, Florida will play in the Battle4Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas during Thanksgiving week (Nov. 26-28), which left no room to schedule around the Nov. 29 football game.
The two schools could have chosen to play in early December, but both have commitments with the SEC-Big 12 challenge (Florida will play at Kansas on Dec. 5) and the ACC-Big Ten Challenge (FSU will host Nebraska on Dec. 1).
In early November, Florida will host in-state rival Miami at the O’Connell Center on Nov. 17.
That left late December or early January as the lone alternative for the two schools. And the Gators intend to host Connecticut in early January, just before the start of Southeastern Conference play.
Florida hasn’t released its full non-conference schedule yet, but here are the dates we know. It projects to be another challenging road before conference play:
Nov 17 — Miami
Nov. 26-28 — Battle4Atlantis Tournament, Nassau, Bahamas (possible matchups with Butler, UAB, North Carolina, UCLA, Oklahoma, Georgetown, Wisconsin).
Dec 5 — at Kansas (SEC Big 12 challenge)
Dec. 20 — vs. Wake Forest (Orange Bowl Classic, Sunrise)
Dec. 30 — at Florida State
Early January — Connecticut
Florida confirmed on its athletic website that swingman DeVon Walker tore his ACL during a summer workout at UF’s basketball facility. Walker’s knee buckled after planting his foot while trying to make a cut. The 6-foot-6 swingman from Winter Haven will be sidelined for the season and faces a tough road of rehabilitation ahead of him. “It’s hard, but I’ll just have to attack it,” Walker told Gatorzone.com. “I’ll be all right.”