In the second season of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge, Kansas will get a rematch with Florida at Allen Fieldhouse.
The Gators will make the trip to Lawrence on Dec. 5 after defeating KU 67-61 at the O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Fla., last December. The matchup was announced Wednesday as the two conferences unveiled the slate of games for the second year of the new challenge.
It was a logical rematch. Kansas is slated to play Kentucky in the Champions Classic in November, and KU coaches and administrators have stood pat in refusing to play Missouri after the Tigers left the Big 12 for the Southeastern Conference in 2012.
It’s also a showdown between two perennial Final Four contenders, an attractive television draw.
Kansas and Florida are expected to begin next season in the preseason rankings despite some key losses on each roster. Kansas is reloading after losing freshmen Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid to the NBA Draft, while Florida lost four senior starters from last year’s Final Four squad, including point guard Scottie Wilbekin.
But Florida coach Billy Donovan returns sophomore forward Chris Walker, junior guard Michael Frazier II, sophomore guard Kasey Hill and incoming freshman forward Devin Robinson, a top-20 recruit.
Kansas leads the all-time series against Florida 3-2. Before Kansas’ loss in Gainesville last season, the two teams had most recently met in Las Vegas on Nov. 25, 2006. The Jayhawks beat the eventual NCAA champions 82-80.
Before that, Florida defeated Kansas 83-73 in the preseason NIT in 2002. The Gators’ only trip to Allen Fieldhouse came in a 69-63 loss on Dec. 7, 1994.
The Florida game fills another marquee slot in the Jayhawks’ nonconference schedule, which is expected to be released this month.
Kansas is poised to face presumptive preseason No. 1 Kentucky at the Champions Classic in Indianapolis and travel to Georgetown and Temple. The Jayhawks will also play host to UNLV at Allen Fieldhouse and face Pac-12 foe Utah in the annual home game at the Sprint Center on December 13.
KU will also play three games at the Old Spice Classic in Orlando beginning Nov. 27, where they may be in line to face a reloading Michigan State. The eight-team field also features Georgia Tech, Marquette, Rhode Island, Rider, Santa Clara and Tennessee. The bracket has not been released.