Florida Gators basketball on Tuesday officially announced its 2015-16 nonconference schedule, which includes a long-rumored but previously unannounced road game against Michigan State.
The two programs have agreed to a home-and-home series with the Spartans scheduled to take a trip to face the Gators in Gainesville during the 2017-18 campaign, one year after Florida’s $60 million renovation of the Stephen C. O’Connell Center will be completed.
UF is 3-3 all-time against MSU, famously falling to Tom Izzo’s team during the 2000 NCAA National Championship, the program’s only title-game loss.
“It’s hard to believe it’s been 15 years since we played Florida in the national championship game,” Izzo said in a school release. “To be able to mark the 15th anniversary with a game against the Gators is a special opportunity.”
The programs will actually square off three times in a four-year period with Florida and Michigan State also scheduled to play as part of a four-team barnstorming event set for major cities across the country in the 2018-19 season.
The Gators will open the 2015-16 campaign against Navy in the 2015 Veterans Classic on Friday, Nov. 13 in Annapolis, Maryland. Florida 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).
UF will also return to the 2015 Orange Bowl Basketball Classic for the 15th time in 16 seasons, taking on Oklahoma State in the contest. Florida and Miami are scheduled to square off in the second contest of a home-and-home series that will take the Gators to Coral Gables, Florida, to face the Hurricanes on Dec. 8.
Finally, Florida will host West Virginia on Jan. 30, 2016, in the third annual SEC/Big 12 Challenge. The game, one of 10 between the conferences played that day, will be held during the SEC league schedule with a special bye week created by the conference in order to fit the contest in.
“This is a first-rate schedule, and we will learn a lot about our team early on,” head coach Michael White said in a school release. “Everyone here is looking forward to the season and I know Gator Nation shares our enthusiasm, so we’re continuing to work hard every day in preparation.”
UF will also face Kentucky, Georgia and Vanderbilt twice each as part of the unreleased Southeastern Conference schedule.
Check out the entire nonconference schedule below.
Friday, Nov. 13: vs. Navy (Veteran’s Classic – Annapolis, MD)
Monday, Nov. 16: vs. North Carolina A&T (Hall of Fame Tip-Off – Gainesville, FL)
Saturday, Nov. 21: vs. St. Joseph’s (Hall of Fame Tip-Off – Uncasville, CT)
Sunday, Nov. 22: vs. Purdue / Old Dominion (Hall of Fame Tip-Off – Uncasville, CT)
Wednesday, Nov. 25: vs. Vermont (Hall of Fame Tip-Off – Gaiensville, FL)
Friday, Nov. 27: vs. FGCU
Tuesday, Dec. 1: vs. Richmond
Tuesday, Dec. 8: at Miami (Coral Gables, FL)
Saturday, Dec. 12: at Michigan State (East Lansing, MI)
Saturday, Dec. 19: vs. Oklahoma State (Orange Bowl Basketball Classic – Sunrise, FL)
Tuesday, Dec. 22: vs. Jacksonville
Tuesday, Dec. 29: vs. Florida State
Saturday, Jan. 30: vs. West Virginia (SEC/Big 12 Challenge – Gainesville, FL)