The Florida Gators announced their 2014-15 men's basketball non-conference schedule on Wednesday — but we already knew the most important pieces to it.
After an exhibition game against Barry University, Florida opens at home with William & Mary on November 14, then plays home games against Miami (Nov. 17) and Louisiana-Monroe (Nov. 21) before taking a Thanksgiving week trip to the Bahamas to play in the Battle 4 Atlantis.
Upon returning stateside, the Gators will head to Phog Allen Fieldhouse to take on Kansas, then welcome Yale, Texas Southern, and Jacksonville to Gainesville in home contests in early December. After a week-long break coinciding with final exams, the Gators will face Wake Forest in Sunrise as part of the Orange Bowl Classic, then take another 10-day break, and come back for a date with Florida State in Tallahassee.
Finally, Florida concludes its non-conference schedule with what is likely to be the biggest game of the first weekend in 2015, a January 3 home showdown with national champion Connecticut, the only team to beat the Gators twice in 2013-14.
The big-name games against Connecticut, Kansas, Miami, and FSU have all been known for some time, and there's nothing particularly scary about the rest of the non-conference slate, except for the Battle 4 Atlantis, where Florida's foes are still not set. (Its game against Louisiana-Monroe is part of the Battle 4 Atlantis because of NCAA rules governing round-robin tournaments, I'm assuming.) With that lack of surprise, there's a chance this schedule going be viewed as somewhat underwhelming.
That would be a mistake. Florida's playing at one of the best venues in sports against Kansas, welcoming the program with four national titles since 1999 and the most in the 21st century to the O'Connell Center, renewing a rivalry with Miami while also maintaining an annual series with Florida State, and playing in potentially the most loaded non-conference tournament ever.
There's plenty of pyrotechnic punch here — and knowing the fireworks are coming makes them no less spectacular.
In case you don't want to squint at the above image, here's Florida's 2014-15 non-conference schedule in table format.
|November 6, 2014||Barry University (Exhibition)||Gainesville, FL|
|November 14, 2014||William & Mary||Gainesville, FL|
|November 17, 2014||Miami||Gainesville, FL|
|November 21, 2014||Louisiana-Monroe (B4A)||Gainesville, FL|
|November 26, 2014||Battle 4 Atlantis||Nassau, Bahamas|
|November 27, 2014||Battle 4 Atlantis||Nassau, Bahamas|
|November 28, 2014||Battle 4 Atlantis||Nassau, Bahamas|
|December 5, 2014||Kansas||Lawrence, KS|
|December 8, 2014||Yale||Gainesville, FL|
|December 12, 2014||Texas Southern||Gainesville, FL|
|December 14, 2014||Jacksonville||Gainesville, FL|
|December 20, 2014||Wake Forest (OBC)||Sunrise, FL|
|December 30, 2014||Florida State||Tallahassee, FL|
|January 3, 2015||UConn||Gainesville, FL|