Florida Gators and Michigan State Spartans men’s basketball are discussing a home-and-home series for the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons, according to ESPN.com.
The Gators – which originally planned a barnstorming tour of the state of Florida while a $60 million renovation to their home arena, the Stephen C. O’Connell Center, forced them out of Gainesville, Florida, for the spring 2015 semester – are now looking to rearrange their schedule and add some home games as the renovation has been postponed one year.
However, Andy Katz reports that the first game in the proposed Florida-Michigan State series would actually be played in East Lansing, Michigan, setting up a return trip to Gainesville in year two.
Seeing as the Gators plan to keep the same renovation schedule for the O’Dome next year, that UF-MSU showdown would either have to be played at a neutral site (Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa) or as the final nonconference game of the campaign, which could serve as the first game in the updated arena in January 2017.
UF is 3-3 all-time against MSU, famously falling to the Spartans during the 2000 NCAA National Championship, the Gators’ only title-game loss in program history.
Florida has also reportedly agreed to participate in a four-team barnstorming event set for 2018 in which it will face Michigan State along with North Carolina and Texas over an eight-day period with games spanning the country in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
UF will open the 2015-16 season against Navy in the 2015 Veterans Classic on Friday, Nov. 13 in Annapolis, Maryland. The Gators will also participate in the 2015 Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament, which includes two home games (North Carolina A&T – Nov. 16, Vermont – Nov. 25) and two neutral-site contests (Saint Joseph’s – Nov. 21, Old Dominion/Purdue – Nov. 22).
It has also been announced that Florida will return to the 2015 Orange Bowl Basketball Classic for the 15th time in 16 seasons, and UF will play at Miami as the second of a home-and-home game that saw the Canes come to Gainesville during the 2014-15 campaign. The Gators are also expected to be chosen for the annual SEC/Big 12 Challenge as they have been every year since inception in 2013.
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