Florida and Virginia have never met for a regular-season game in men’s basketball. That could change this season. The Gators and Cavaliers have made significant modifications to their nonconference schedules and have agreed in principle to play each other Nov. 27, sources told CBS Sports.
The teams will meet at Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun, a site that’s long been preparing to play host to dozens of games in a controlled environment this November and December. Both teams will start the season in Connecticut on Nov. 25 against mid-major opponents before their game on Nov. 27, which is the Friday after Thanksgiving.
Florida was already scheduled to play at Mohegan Sun this season in December, but that date was canceled due to scheduling conflicts. Virginia played at Mohegan Sun last year, so it has familiarity and comfort with the location. In doing this, sources said, that means UVA has opted out of the Wooden Legacy, which is an ESPN-run event scheduled to be held in Orlando. That tournament field initially had Kansas, Georgetown and UCLA involved. Georgetown previously left that field.
The Mohegan Sun “bubble” will be jointly run and operated by resort staff, the Naismith Hall of Fame and the Gazelle Group, all of whom have been in talks with dozens of programs as they continue to build out an array of multi-team events and standalone nonconference games. CBS Sports first revealed the plans for this bubble-type environment in early September.
The addition is a boon for Mohegan Sun, but also another solid add for college basketball’s slate. The Wahoos might prove to be a top-five team in college hoops this season; they’re ranked No. 4 in CBS Sports’ preseason Top 25 And 1. Remember, Tony Bennett’s team still is the most recent national champion in the sport, since there was no 2020 NCAA Tournament. Aside from junior point guard Kihei Clark, this year’s Cavs roster will be senior-heavy, led by Marquette transfer Sam Hauser, center Jay Huff and wing Tomas Woldetensae.
Florida, which is unranked by CBS (but could quickly prove us wrong at the start of the season), should benefit from the return of projected NBA talent. Mike White’s team brought back Keyontae Johnson, Scottie Lewis and Tre Mann. The Gators, like Virginia, should be an elite defensive unit and shape up as an SEC contender.
Florida is 2-1 vs. Virginia, with the Gators winning in the 2017 and 2012 NCAA Tournaments and the Cavaliers winning in the 1992 NIT semifinals.