Florida opens with Vandy in SEC play


Florida will get a chance for payback immediately when Southeastern Conference basketball play begins in late December.

The Gators will open conference play Dec. 30 by hosting rival Vanderbilt. The Commodores knocked off Florida in all three meetings last season, including in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament.

Florida will close SEC play on March 3 at home against Kentucky, which will serve as senior day for point guard Chris Chiozza, center John Egbunu and incoming grad transfer Egor Koulechov.

The Gators will play four of their first seven conference games on the road, including a trip to Rupp Arena to face Kentucky on Jan. 20. Florida will play Kentucky, Georgia, Vanderbilt, Alabama and South Carolina twice this season.

The Gators went 27-9 last season, reaching the Elite Eight for the fifth time in their last seven season. Florida went 14-4 in SEC play, finishing second to Kentucky in the league standings in coach Mike White’s second season.

Here’s an updated look at UF’s 2017-18 schedule. Television and start times will be determined at a later date:

— Nov. 5, Tampa (exhibition)  O’Connell Center/Exactech Arena

— Nov. 13  Gardner-Webb       O’Connell Center/Exactech Arena

— Nov. 16 UNF                          O’Connell Center/Exactech Arena

— Nov. 19 New Hampshire       O’Connell Center/Exactech Arena

— Nov. 23 Stanford                   PK 80/Portland, Ore.

— Nov. 24 Gonzaga or Ohio State                  PK 80/Portland, Ore

— Nov. 26 Duke/Texas/Butler/Portland St.     PK 80/Portland, Ore.

— Dec. 4  Florida State                   O’Connell Center/Exactech Arena

—  Dec. 6 Loyola-Chicago                O’Connell Center/Exactech Arena

— Dec. 9 Cincinnati                         Never Forget Tribute Classic/Newark, N.J.

— Dec. 16 Clemson                        Orange Bowl Classic/Sunrise

—  Dec. 20 James Madison               O’Connell Center/Exactech Arena

— Dec. 22 Incarnate Word                 O’Connell Center/Exactech Arena

— Dec. 30 Vanderbilt                 O’Connell Center/Exactech Arena

— Jan. 2 at Texas A&M               Reed Arena, College Station, Texas

— Jan. 6 at Missouri               Mizzou Arena, Columbia, Mo.

— Jan. 10 Mississippi State     O’Connell Center/Exactech Arena

— Jan. 13 at Mississippi          The Pavilion at Ole Miss, Oxford, Miss.

— Jan. 17 Arkansas     O’Connell Center/Exactech Arena

— Jan. 20 at Kentucky           Rupp Arena, Lexington, Ky.

— Jan. 23 South Carolina     O’Connell Center/Exactech Arena

— Jan. 27  Baylor                               O’Connell Center/Exactech Arena

— Jan. 30 at Georgia                      Stegeman Coliseum, Athens, Ga.

— Feb. 3  Alabama                               O’Connell Center/Exactech Arena

— Feb. 7  LSU                               O’Connell Center/Exactech Arena

— Feb. 10, at South Carolina           Colonial Life Arena, Columbia, S.C.

— Feb. 14  Georgia                              O’Connell Center/Exactech Arena

— Feb. 17 at Vanderbilt                         Memorial Gym, Nashville, Tenn.

— Feb. 21 at Tennessee                       Thompson-Boling Arena, Knoxville, Tenn.

— Feb. 24  Auburn                              O’Connell Center/Exactech Arena

— Feb. 27  at Alabama                         Coleman Coliseum, Tuscaloosa, Ala.

— March 3  Kentucky                            O’Connell Center/Exactech Arena