With renovations to the Stephen C. O’Connell Center forcing Florida Gators basketball out of Gainesville, Florida, for the vast majority of its 2016-17 nonconference slate, the team has been looking for options to play as many games as possible within the state.
As such, Florida has agreed to play in the 2016 AdvoCare Invitational in Orlando.
Gators executive associate athletic director Mike Hill told OnlyGators.com recently that while Florida will participate in the event, the remainder of the “dynamite” field is not set as of press time.
The AdvoCare Invitational, formerly the Old Spice Classic and Orlando Classic, is a non-elimination tournament with a winner’s and loser’s bracket. Each team competes in three games over four days, usually spanning the last weekend in November.
Update – Oct. 29: According to CBS Sports‘ Jon Rothstein, Florida will be joined in the field by Gonzaga, Iowa State, Miami, Quinnpiac, Seton Hall and Stanford.
Original story, continued: Though the Gators have not participated in the event before, it is common for major programs to fill out the field. Teams that have played in past events (or will compete in 2015) include Alabama, Georgetown, Gonzaga, Kansas, Marquette, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, NC State, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Villanova and Wisconsin, among others.
As of press time, Florida has approximately 50 percent of its 2016-17 nonconference schedule set, according to Hill. The Gators are also scheduled to return to the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic in Sunrise, Florida, and will play road games against Florida State and a yet-to-be-determined opponent in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge.
Florida is working on one more major neutral site game and will play the balance of its contests, most of which will likely be considered home games, across the state. Some cities in which the Gators may play include Jacksonville and Tampa. UF is hoping that the O’Dome will be done early enough to play one or two nonconfernece games in the arena before SEC play begins.
Hill also confirmed that despite a coaching change – going from Billy Donovan to Mike White – Florida remains committed to the four-team, multi-city barnstorming tour in 2018. UF, Michigan State, North Carolina and Texas will all play each other over an eight-day period in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.
The Gators and Spartans will first meet on Dec. 12, 2015 in East Lansing, Michigan, in the initial game of a home-and-home series that will see the return match-up played at some point during the 2017-18 campaign. UF and MSU will therefore square off three times in a span of four seasons.