Florida and Miami will meet in a home-and-home basketball series beginning in 2014 in Gainesville, Florida announced Tuesday.
The first game of the two-game series will be played Monday, November 17 in Gainesville, with a return trip to Miami for the 2015-16 season yet to be scheduled. Florida hasn't played Miami in the regular season since December 2005, when the Gators beat the Hurricanes, 77-67, in Coral Gables. That game was the return trip of a home-and-home series in 2004-05 and 2005-06; Miami began the series with a 72-65 win over Florida in Gainesville in December 2004.
The two teams most recently met in the 2009 Postseason NIT, with Florida knocking off the 'Canes, 74-60, in a game played in Gainesville. Florida holds a 45-22 edge in its all-time series against Miami.
This Florida-Miami home-and-home has long been rumored, and dovetails perfectly with the "barnstorming" the Gators will likely have to do during the non-conference portion of their 2015-16 schedule, as the O'Connell Center's renovation is finished.
And, personally, I love that this series is going to happen. Miami's likely going to be something close to a challenge for Florida in the first game of the series — though Jim Larrañaga's 'Canes are likely to be a fringe top-25 team at best in 2014-15, and Florida will once again be in the Final Four hunt — and could theoretically be favored in the return trip, depending on how much Florida loses after the 2014-15 season. It would not have felt right for Florida to schedule Miami when the 'Canes were flailing under Frank Haith, and it wouldn't have helped either side very much.
A few years later, this series will pit the Sunshine State's best college basketball program against the one on an upward trajectory — and that's the kind of game I want to see.