Florida and Butler will square off each of the next two seasons, with the home-and-home series starting in Gainesville during the Gators’ 2018-19 non-conference season. Florida will travel to Butler for the return game in 2019-20.
“We have a lot of respect for Butler, and we’re excited about this series,” head coach Mike White said. “Our goal is always to play a really tough non-conference schedule, not only to prepare our team for the SEC schedule, but also because we have great fans who deserve to see us play a high-level schedule.”
In addition to Butler, Gator fans at Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center will also see Michigan State this season, as that home-and-home series concludes after UF’s trip to East Lansing in 2015-16. The Gainesville meeting against the Spartans had been delayed, first by UF’s arena renovation in 2016-17 and then by Big Ten scheduling in 2017-18.
Butler joins an impressive list of prominent home-and-home non-conference series the Gators have played this decade, including Ohio State, Wisconsin, Arizona, Kansas, UConn, Miami and Michigan State.
Florida is coming off its second straight NCAA Tournament appearance and its third consecutive 20-win season. The Gators posted six wins vs. ranked opponents during the regular season in 2017-18, tied for most in the nation.
The Gators hold a 2-1 all-time record against Butler, with all three prior meetings coming in NCAA Tournament action. Florida won in the first round of the 2000 tournament on Mike Miller’s memorable buzzer beater, as well as the 2007 Sweet 16 en route to a national championship. Butler took the most recent meeting in the 2011 Elite Eight. Both the 2000 and 2011 meetings went to overtime.
Both Florida and Butler will compete in the Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis over Thanksgiving, as well, but will be placed on opposite sides of the bracket.
The Bulldogs concluded the 2017-18 season with a 21-14 record under first-year Butler coach LaVall Jordan, advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Butler returns a talented group, headlined by guard Kamar Baldwin, who averaged 15.7 points per game average as a sophomore.