Florida will get a tough test from an in-state rival to start the 2018-19 men’s basketball season.
The Gators will open the season at Nov. 6 at Florida State, adding to the list of power five conference opponents UF will face in its non-conference schedule.
Florida has won 27 straight season openers dating back to 1990. But FSU will present a formidable challenge to that streak. The Seminoles have won four straight against the Gators and return three starters from a team that reached the Elite Eight last season. The Gators, meanwhile, bring back three starters, including leading scorer Jalen Hudson, from a team that reached the Round of 32 of the NCAA Tournament.
UF’s challenging non-conference schedule includes home games against Butler and Michigan State, a game at TCU in the SEC-Big 12 Challenge and a neutral court game against West Virginia on Dec. 4 at the Jimmy V Classic in New York City. In addition, Florida could potentially face Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Dayton, Butler, Virginia, Stanford and/or Middle Tennessee in the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament in the Bahamas over Thanksgiving weekend.
It also marks the earliest regular season start date the Gators have ever played, as the NCAA moved up the season’s start date in order to allow teams more days to fit in their non-conference schedules.
Florida last opened the season against FSU on Nov. 17, 2000, a game the Gators won 85-70 at the O’Connell Center. UF’s last season opener at FSU was on Nov. 16, 1999, a game UF also won 96-91.