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UConn Men’s Basketball to Begin Series With Florida Next Season

The Huskies add one of the biggest names in men’s college basketball to their future non-conference schedule.

NCAA Basketball: Battle 4 Atlantis-Florida vs Stanford Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

UConn men’s basketball added a big-name opponent to their non-conference schedule for the next two years. CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein is reporting the Huskies will play a home-and-home series with the Florida Gators, beginning next season at UConn. The Huskies will return the trip to Gainesville the season after.

The two teams haven’t met often but when they do, the stakes are typically high. The first-ever matchup came in the 1994 Sweet Sixteen, when Florida knocked off the Huskies 69-60 in overtime.

They didn’t see each other for nearly a decade, when the Gators came up to Gampel Pavilion as the No. 15 team in the country. UConn was ranked No. 13. It was a back-and-forth game that ended with a buzzer-beater from Shabazz Napier.

After that, Florida was unstoppable and ripped off 30-straight wins. They met again in the Final Four in much different spots than their first game. The Gators were the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament while the Huskies were a 7-seed.

UConn fell behind 16-4 early and it seemed like their magic had finally run out. Less than two minutes later, the Huskies were back within 1 point and eventually won going away to reach the national title game, where they won their fourth championship.

The next season, UConn Huskies went into Gainesville and ground out a tough 53-59 victory. After that year, Florida head coach Billy Donovan left for the NBA to coach the Oklahoma City Thunder and was replaced by Mike White. The Gators aren’t quite the perennial powerhouse they were under Donovan, but they have made the NCAA Tournament in two of White’s three seasons, including a run to the Elite Eight in 2016-17.