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Florida to open 2018-19 men’s basketball schedule at Florida State

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The Gators and Seminoles will meet in Florida’s season opener for the first time in nearly two decades.

NCAA Basketball: SEC Conference Tournament-Florida vs Arkansas Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida Gators are set to have one of the toughest schedules in all of men’s college basketball — again — in 2018-19.

And their season opener will be one of the nation’s most daunting tasks, too.

Florida will open the 2018-19 season — on Tuesday, November 6, in their earliest season opener ever, after the NCAA moved up the season’s start dates — at 2018 Elite Eight participant Florida State, marking the first time since 2000 that the Gators open up playing the Seminoles in the Panhandle.

That last Florida-FSU season opener went the Gators’ way, as the returning members of Florida’s national runner-up 1999-2000 squad helped hand the Seminoles a 85-70 defeat in Tallahassee in November 2000.

These Gators will be looking to reverse recent history against FSU, as the Seminoles have won each of the last four meetings between the programs.

But while Florida-FSU promises to be one of the first day of the season’s best games, it will likely be overshadowed by that same Tuesday’s 2018 edition of the Champions Classic, which features Duke-Kentucky and Michigan State-Kansas tilts from Indianapolis.

Florida confirming its annual matchup with FSU just adds to what was already a rigorous non-conference schedule. The Gators will play Butler, Michigan State, TCU, and West Virginia in non-conference play, and will participate in the 2018 Battle 4 Atlantis tournament over the week of Thanksgiving.