SEC Basketball Schedule Looks Favorable For Florida Basketball

With this being one of the most anticipated seasons of Florida basketball in some time there were plenty of fans anxious to see the SEC schedule and if you were one of those fans you got what you wanted Tuesday as the slate was announced. Without further ado, here is Florida’s 2019-20 SEC schedule.

Alabama
January 4
Gainesville, FL

South Carolina
January 7
Columbia, SC

Missouri
January 11
Columbia, MO

Ole Miss
January 14
Gainesville, FL

Auburn
January 18
Gainesville, FL

LSU
January 21
Baton Rouge, LA

Mississippi State
January 28
Gainesville, FL

Vanderbilt
February 1
Nashville, TN

Georgia
February 5
Gainesville, FL

Ole Miss
February 8
Oxford, MS

Texas A&M
February 12
College Station, TX

Vanderbilt
February 15
Gainesville, FL

Arkansas
February 18
Gainesville, FL

Kentucky
February 22
Lexington, KY

LSU
February 26
Gainesville, FL

Tennessee
February 29
Knoxville, TN

Georgia
March 4
Athens, GA

Kentucky
March 7
Gainesville, FL

There you go, folks. Here are some of my thoughts as I look up and down the schedule.

Starting Strong

Whenever I see a conference schedule I look at the first few games because every team wants to start their conference schedule strong by rattling off a few wins. For the Gators I think things really broke well for them in the first few games of the SEC season. Alabama should be solid but the game is in Gainesville, South Carolina looks like one of the weaker teams in the SEC (but of course, who knows with them!) and Missouri is projected to be in the lower tier as well. Then you’ve got a home game against Ole Miss who lost some good talent last year. It’s not like there are going to be any easy games in an SEC that’s looking like a monster this year but relative to what the Gators could have faced this is a nice start and I think they’ll have a really good opportunity to start the league off strong and get some great momentum going.

Finishing Stronger

Of course it’s good to start the league schedule strongly but it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. Every team wants to have momentum going into their conference tournament (and hopefully postseason play) and for a Florida team looking to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament they’ll want to be playing their best basketball in March. Looking at the final 5 games they definitely have some tough ones. Both contests against Kentucky are in the final chunk of 5 games and they also see an LSU team that I think is going to be really good despite some of their losses this offseason. They also have Tennessee and Georgia and as we saw last year the Bulldogs can be really frisky and they’ll be a lot more talented this year. The final game of the regular season against Kentucky could also provide some intrigue as there is a chance the Gators and Wildcats could be battling for the conference title and who knows, the winner of this game could take the belt.

Easiest Stretch

I look at the start of February and I see this as a stretch of games where the Gators could really make some hay. Vanderbilt under a new regime could be vulnerable (though that game is in the mysterious Memorial Gym) then they’ve got Georgia at home, Ole Miss and TAMU on the road, and then a pair of home games against Vanderbilt and Arkansas. Playing Vanderbilt twice in this stretch could provide 2 wins against a rebuilding team and hey, while we’re talking teams that are rebuilding Arkansas will probably be down too. Plus, let’s remember Mike White totally outcoached Eric Musselman in the NCAA Tournament last year. Ole Miss and TAMU don’t figure to be tremendous this year so those are very winnable too. I could really see the Gators going on a big run here and padding the win column.

Toughest Stretch

I already mentioned this before but I think it’s the final 5 games of the season against Kentucky, LSU, Tennessee, Georgia, and Kentucky again. In this group of games they’ll see great talent at Kentucky and LSU and while Tennessee and Georgia aren’t looking like giants in the league at the point they’ll be playing at the end of the season everyone has tons of film on everyone and games can turn wonky. I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Gators drop a game to one of Tennessee or Georgia in addition to a loss or two against Kentucky and LSU and this could provide some frustration going into the conference tournament, a place the Gators have not faired well in recent history.

Plan Your Trips

Here are the weekend home games in case you’re interested:

Alabama (January 4, Saturday)
Auburn (January 18, Saturday)
Vanderbilt (February 15, Saturday)
Kentucky (March 7, Saturday)

Not SEC, but they’ll also have Baylor at home January 25 (Saturday).

Final Thoughts

It’s going to a big year for Florida basketball and when I look at the schedule I think it’s pretty favorable for the Gators. They had some treacherous stretches in the schedule last year and seemed like the SEC was really cheering for them to struggle but this time around they really seemed to look upon them favorably. There are lots of things pointing towards a great season for the Gators and the schedule looks to be one of them.

Eric Fawcett
Eric hails from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. His blend of sports and comedy has landed his words on ESPN, Bleacher Report, CBS Sports, Lindy's and others. He loves zone defenses, the extra pass, and a 30 second shot clock. Growing up in Canada, an American channel showing SEC basketball games was his first exposure to Gator hoops, and he has been hooked ever since. You can follow him on Twitter at @Efawcett7.