Gators to face another tough non-conference slate


In a little more than two months, Florida will open its basketball schedule Nov. 14 against William & Mary at the O’Connell Center.

And once again, Florida will face plenty of tough tests before Southeastern Conference play begins Jan. 7 at South Carolina.

The Gators will play at least at least two teams in that finished that last season in the Top 10 in RPI (Kansas, Connecticut) and up to five teams in the RPI Top 50 depending on how the Gators perform at the Battle of Atlantis Tournament in the Bahamas.

Here’s a look the RPI of Florida’s non-conference opponents at the end of last season, based on’s final RPI last April:

Nov. 14 — William & Mary — 124

Nov. 17 — Miami — 114

Nov. 20 — Louisiana-Monroe — 246

Nov. 26 — Georgetown — 75

Nov. 27 — Wisconsin 3, or UAB 153

Nov. 28 — UCLA 15, or North Carolina 23, or Oklahoma 31, or Butler 154

Dec. 5 — at Kansas 4

Dec. 8 — Yale 104

Dec. 12 — Texas Southern 250

Dec. 15 — Jacksonville 282

Dec. 20 — Wake Forest (Orange Bowl Classic, Sunrise) 117

Dec. 30 — at Florida State 49

Jan. 3 — Connecticut 3

If the Gators somehow make it through the non-conference schedule unbeaten, Florida coach Billy Donovan will go for his 500th career win in UF’s SEC opener Jan. 7 at South Carolina. With one or two non-conference losses, Donovan could notch win number 500 at home either against Mississippi State (Jan. 10) or Auburn (15).

Other notes:

— Per’s Evan Daniels, Florida’s 2015 recruiting class is ranked 16th in the country. UF’s class received a boost last month with the commitment of 6-8, 245-pound power forward Noah Dickerson. Of note, there are three SEC teams ranked ahead of Florida and none of them are Kentucky. Texas A&M is the eighth ranked class in the country, followed by Auburn (13) and LSU (14).

— college basketball analyst Jon Rothstein projects incoming Florida freshman forward Devin Robinson as one of the most undervalued players in the country. Rothstein wrote that Robinson didn’t come in with the hype of Kentucky’s freshman class, but says the rangy, athletic 6-foot-8 forward has a chance to become “not just one of the best freshmen in the SEC, but one of the best in the country.” With DeVon Walker out for the season with a torn ACL, Robinson will have a chance to win the starting small forward job with the Gators with a good fall camp. But physical strength (he weighed in a few weeks ago at 178 pounds) could be an issue for Robinson going forward.