Should its downward spiral continue and Florida Gators basketball (17-12, 8-8 SEC) not receive an invitation to the 2016 NCAA Tournament, the team would accept a bid to the 2016 National Invitation Tournament.
Mike Hill, the University Athletic Association’s executive associate athletics director, confirmed Monday to OnlyGators.com that the Gators would continue their season by playing in the tournament for the first time since 2009 and third time this century, though they would not be able to take full advantage of the opportunity to host games as part of the event.
The Postseason NIT, which selects the best available participants to fill a 32-team field, breaks into four regions of eight teams with the highest-seeded team in every game receiving first option to host its contest.
Florida, which as a NCAA Tournament bubble team would likely be one of the highest seeds in the field, would have no choice but to decline the option to host games as doing so would interfere with the project schedule for the Stephen C. O’Connell Center as it begins its $64.5 million renovation.
Construction on the exterior of the O’Dome has already begun with the massive renovations set to be initiated at the conclusion of the 2015-16 basketball season. Plans are for construction to be concluded by Dec. 2016, just in time for the start of spring sports and the Gators’ Southeastern Conference schedule.
Renovation mock-up via FloridaGators.com.