For the first time in 15 years, Florida Gators basketball will open a season on the road when it takes on the Navy Midshipmen in the 2015 Veterans Classic at 9:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 13 in Annapolis, Maryland.
Florida and Navy will square off in the second game of the event, which is being held at the U.S. Naval Academy base. Game one features North Carolina and Temple going head-to-head at 7 p.m.
“This event is a unique opportunity for our team not just on the court, but it’s a chance for our guys to interact with people their age who are leading a really special way of life in service to our country. The qualities that the Naval Academy represents – duty, honor and loyalty – are characteristics that we can all aspire to living out. I know this will be an outstanding experience to tip off our season,” said Gators head coach Billy Donovan.
According to the official release from CBS Sports Network, which will broadcast both games, “the three participating schools will have the rare opportunity to get a glimpse of what life is like as a midshipman at the Naval Academy.”
The visiting teams will be immersed in the culture and tradition of the Naval Academy, including touring the ‘Yard,’ watching noon meal formation, eating lunch with the Brigade at King Hall, as well as a number of other unique experiences, including military demonstrations and receptions. CBS Sports Network will provide a look at the schools’ visit to the Naval Academy on Hoops Confidential: Veterans, a 30-minute all-access show.
Navy head coach Ed Dechellis lauded the other programs for participating in the event, noting that each will be on campus “during the week of Veterans Day,” allowing them to “interact with the Brigade of Midshipmen, active members of the military and veterans.”
This is the second time in the last four years that the Gators have opened the season with a military-themed game as Florida took on Georgetown in the Navy-Marine Corps Classic on the deck of the USS Bataan in Jacksonville, Florida, in 2012.
The Gators are 1-1 all-time against the Midshipmen; Navy is the only service academy ever to beat Florida with UF going 2-0 against Air Force and 1-0 against Army.