While it didn’t have dates or times yet, Florida’s basketball season did start to take shape on Wednesday as their opponents were announced by the SEC.
In addition to playing every team once, the Gators will of course play Georgia, Vanderbilt, and Kentucky a second time as part of the “permanent rival” series the SEC has laid out.
The biggest question with the SEC schedule every year is the two rotational series games, where teams play another pair of opponents a second time.
For Florida, this will be Auburn and Ole Miss.
That’s a decent draw for the Gators as Auburn should provide a great resume boost. For starters, they landed an absolute stud in the recruiting cycle, 6’10” Jabari Smith. Considering the quality of recruits that the Tigers have landed recently it’s really saying that Smith is the highest rated of the bunch, and he’s a bouncy forward built for SEC basketball.
Auburn also landed one of the biggest names in the transfer portal this year, North Carolina’s Walker Kessler. Kessler is a 7-footer who had some great moments for the Tar Heels and he’ll be expected to star for the Tigers. Early in his high school recruitment, before he blew up and became a five-star, it was said he really wanted to be a Gator, though the interest wasn’t mutual. Fast forward a year later and he was a top-twenty player in the class, so sticking it to Florida might be in the back of his mind.
The Tigers also landed a talented point guard transfer in Zep Jasper from College Of Charleston, a player the Gators had interest in.
Overall, Auburn is expected to be a solid SEC competitor so this should be two good games for the Gators.
Ole Miss isn’t expected to be quite as good, but they had a few interesting pickups in the transfer portal, particularly Duke’s Jamyn Brakefield. Kermit Davis’ Rebels have been solid the last few seasons but haven’t been able to really get over the hump, and losing some talented guards to graduation could mean trouble for them.
Generally, the Gators should be happy with these rotational series opponents as quality, but winnable games.
The home and away breakdown was also laid out by the SEC.
Florida gets a couple of challenging road environments in Missouri and Tennessee, two places that have given them some trouble in recent history. Depending on what capacity looks like by the time these games are played, they are a couple of sneakily difficult ones to keep an eye on.
With the opponents being announced the season is really starting to take shape. Keep it locked to Gator Country for all your off-season news.