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Wednesday August 3, 2011Men's Basketball Sets Non-Conference Schedule; Six Opponents Reached 2011 NCAA Tournament

Gainesville, Fla.

The University of Florida menís basketball team announced its 2011-12 non-conference schedule on Wednesday. The Gators face a challenging slate, which includes six games against teams in the 2011 NCAA Tournament field, three of which finished in the Sweet Sixteen or better. In total, Florida will play eight contests against teams that appeared in postseason play last season (beyond conference tournaments). UF will also compete against four in-state opponents and will play games in Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville and Sunrise, Fla.

 

An early-season road test at Ohio State highlights the November portion of the slate, while the Gators also travel to face Syracuse as part of the inaugural Big East/SEC Challenge. Florida welcomes Arizona and Florida State to the OíConnell Center and plays a neutral-court contest against Texas A&M in December. UF closes its out-of-league schedule with a home date against UAB, another 2011 NCAA Tournament team.

 

"We've made it a practice to play a difficult non-conference schedule, and this is perhaps the toughest one yet," said head coach Billy Donovan. "That's something that really helps prepare us for the NCAA Tournament. We're also looking forward to playing games in front of our great fans from several different areas of Florida, and we host some exciting matchups on our home court, as well."

 

Florida will play one exhibition game, hosting Catholic University on Nov. 3. The Cardinals were finalists in the 2011 Landmark Conference Tournament and the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Tournament, and their roster includes Donovanís son, also named Billy, a 6-foot-1 guard who will be a sophomore in the fall.

 

UF then opens its regular season with four games as part of the Global Sports Shootout, starting at home against Jackson State on Nov. 11. Florida travels to Columbus, Ohio, to take on the Buckeyes on Nov. 15 for the second half of a home-and-home series that began in Gainesville last November. The Buckeyes are coming off a Big Ten Championship (regular season and tournament) and an appearance in the NCAA Sweet Sixteen.

 

The Gators will have a quick turnaround to face North Florida, finalists in the 2011 Atlantic Sun Tournament, in the OíConnell Center on Nov. 17 before a Nov. 21 meeting with Wright State in Tampaís St. Pete Times Forum to wrap up the Global Sports Shootout.

 

Florida faces off against another in-state foe later that week, hosting Jacksonville on Nov. 25, the day after Thanksgiving. The Dolphins advanced to the CollegeInsider.com postseason tournament in 2011. Florida continues its state-wide schedule with an Orlando date against Stetson on Nov. 28, marking the second straight season the Gators will play in Amway Arena.

 

December opens with a pair of power-conference foes as Florida goes on the road to face Syracuse on Dec. 2 in the Big East/SEC Challenge before hosting Arizona on Dec. 7, marking back-to-back games against 2011 NCAA Tournament teams. The Gators then head to Jacksonville on Dec. 9 to take on Rider, which also participated in the CollegeInsider.com postseason tournament last season.

 

Floridaís final neutral-site contest is a Dec. 17 meeting with Texas A&M, yet another 2011 NCAA Tournament team, in the Orange Bowl Classic in Sunrise, Fla. The Gators return to Gainesville for a pair of home dates against Mississippi Valley State on Dec. 19 and Florida State on Dec. 22.

 

The Gatorsí last road date of the non-conference slate comes on Dec. 29 at Rutgers. Florida hosts Yale on New Yearís Eve before meeting 2011 NCAA Tournament First Four participant UAB on Jan. 3 to close its non-conference schedule.

 

Game times and television information will be announced at a later date, as will the Gatorsí conference schedule.

 

Florida returns two starters and All-SEC performers in Erving Walker (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and Kenny Boynton (Pompano Beach, Fla.) from last yearís Elite Eight squad, whose three remaining starters were seniors, including two NBA Draft selections in Chandler Parsons and Vernon Macklin, along with Alex Tyus.

 

2011-12 Florida Menís Basketball Non-Conference Schedule

Nov. 3

Thursday

Catholic University (Exh.)

Gainesville, Fla.

Nov. 11

Friday

Jackson State

Gainesville, Fla.

Nov. 15

Tuesday

Ohio State

Columbus, Ohio

Nov. 17

Thursday

North Florida

Gainesville, Fla.

Nov. 21

Monday

Wright State

Tampa, Fla.

Nov. 25

Friday

Jacksonville

Gainesville, Fla.

Nov. 28

Monday

Stetson

Orlando, Fla.

Dec. 2

Friday

Syracuse

Syracuse, N.Y.

Dec. 7

Wednesday

Arizona

Gainesville, Fla.

Dec. 9

Friday

Rider

Jacksonville, Fla.

Dec. 17

Saturday

Texas A&M

Sunrise, Fla.

Dec. 19

Monday

Mississippi Valley State

Gainesville, Fla.

Dec. 22

Thursday

Florida State

Gainesville, Fla.

Dec. 29

Thursday

Rutgers

Piscataway, N.J.

Dec. 31

Saturday

Yale

Gainesville, Fla.

Jan. 3

Tuesday

UAB

Gainesville, Fla.

 

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