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Florida's 2016-17 men's basketball schedule released: No Kentucky Senior Day

The Gators will see new foes in their final two SEC games.

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

With the SEC's Tuesday release of its men's basketball schedule for the 2016-17 season, we now know the Florida Gators schedule for the 2016-17 season. And while the Gators won't occupy the post-renovation O'Connell Center — now called Exactech Arena at the O'Connell Center — until late December for a non-conference game, the Gators' SEC home opener is going to be a big game.

That's because the Gators will host Mississippi — coach Mike White's alma mater — for that game, on January 3, the first game in 2017.

The rest of Florida's SEC schedule holds a couple of surprises. Most notably, the Gators won't be Kentucky's Senior Day opponent, instead seeing the Wildcats twice in February for Saturday clashes on CBS. (Kentucky will play Vanderbilt on Senior Day.)

But the Gators also netted an appealing set of home-and-home foes. Georgia, Kentucky, and Vanderbilt remain the Gators' three "permanent" opponents, and are joined by Arkansas and South Carolina. Those latter two teams will see Florida both early and late: They host the Gators over their first six SEC contests, then visit Gainesville over the final two weeks of SEC play.

Arkansas, specifically, will see Florida very early and very late. The Razorbacks host Florida on December 30, in the earliest SEC opener for the Gators since the 1988-89 season, when LSU came to the O'Connell Center on December 10. And just like that LSU team, the Gators won't see the Hogs again until March 1.

While Kentucky is a perennial power, and Vanderbilt was one of three SEC teams to make the 2016 NCAA Tournament, the four non-Kentucky teams in that quintet have all been more or less middle-of-the-pack outfits in recent years, and Vanderbilt lost (perhaps "lost") long-time coach Kevin Stallings to Pittsburgh this offseason.

This is an SEC schedule that sets up for an NCAA Tournament run, in other words.

The full Florida Gators men's basketball schedule for 2016-17 looks like this now.

Florida Gators Men's Basketball 2016-17 Schedule

Date Opponent Location Notes
November 11, 2016 Florida Gulf Coast Jacksonville, FL First meeting since 2013 NCAA Tournament
November 13, 2016 Mercer Jacksonville, FL Bears memorably upset Duke in 2014 NCAA Tournament, own 7-5 all-time record vs. Gators
November 17, 2016 St. Bonaventure Lakeland, FL Game likely to be played at 8,000-seat Lakeland Civic Center
November 21, 2016 Belmont Tampa, FL Coach Rick Byrd has .664 winning percentage at Belmont
November 24, 2016 Seton Hall Orlando, FL (AdvoCare Invitational) Pirates finished No. 22 in KenPom in 2015-16
November 25, 2016 Gonzaga or Quinnipiac Orlando, FL (AdvoCare Invitational) Gators will play team from Spokane or Hamden, CT in City Beautiful
November 27, 2016 TBD Orlando, FL (AdvoCare Invitational) Other AdvoCare teams: Indiana State, Iowa State, Miami, Stanford
December 1, 2016 North Florida Jacksonville, FL Gators routed Ospreys, 97-68, in NIT opener
December 6, 2016 Duke New York City (Jimmy V Classic) Gators are 4-12 all-time against Duke
December 11, 2016 Florida State Tallahassee, FL Seminoles have won last two in series
December 17, 2016 Charlotte Sunrise, FL (Orange Bowl Classic) Florida transfer Braxton Ogbueze led 49ers in minutes, threes (106), 3PT% (42.7 percent) in 2015-16
December 21, 2016 Arkansas-Little Rock Gainesville, FL Home opener for new O'Dome
December 29, 2016 Arkansas Fayetteville, AR Gators' first December SEC contest in nearly three decades
January 3, 2017 Mississippi Gainesville, FL Gators open SEC home slate against White's alma mater
January 7, 2017 Tennessee Gainesville, FL Gators host Vols for first time since Billy Donovan's 500th win
January 10, 2017 Alabama Tuscaloosa, AL Crimson Tide topped Gators in only 2015-16 meeting
January 14, 2017 Georgia Gainesville, FL Gators swept season series in 2015-16
January 18, 2017 South Carolina Columbia, SC Frank Martin entering fifth season with Gamecocks
January 21, 2017 Vanderbilt Gainesville, FL Gators get first look at new Vandy coach Bryce Drew
January 25, 2017 LSU Baton Rouge, LA Gators topped Tigers, No. 1 pick Ben Simmons in 2015-16
January 28, 2017 Oklahoma Norman, OK Gators' second meeting with former coach Lon Kruger
February 2, 2017 Missouri Gainesville, FL Tigers are winless in Gainesville in two tries
February 4, 2017 Kentucky Gainesville, FL Gators host Saturday showdown with Kentucky for second time in three years
February 7, 2017 Georgia Athens, GA Dawgs should be led by diminuitive J.J. Frazier
February 11, 2017 Texas A&M Gainesville, FL Aggies shared SEC title with Kentucky in 2015-16
February 14, 2017 Auburn Auburn, AL Awww, a Valentine's Day date with Bruce Pearl
February 18, 2017 Mississippi State Starkville, MS Five-star Malik Newman left for Kansas in offseason
February 21, 2017 South Carolina Gainesville, FL 'Cocks last Gainesville win: 2011
February 25, 2017 Kentucky Lexington, KY Wildcats will probably have multiple NBA Draft picks, puzzling losses in 2016-17
March 1, 2017 Arkansas Gainesville, FL Florida sees Hogs on Senior Day for first time ever
March 4, 2017 Vanderbilt Nashville, TN Commodores host Gators for Saturday Senior Day