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Mar 26, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Florida Gators guard Chris Chiozza (11) drives to the basket against South Carolina Gamecocks guard Duane Notice (10) during the second half in the finals of the East Regional of the 2017 NCAA Tournament at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Florida Men’s Basketball Takes On Stanford in Phil Knight Invitational

On Wednesday, the bracket for the PK80-Phil Knight Invitational revealed that Florida faces Stanford on in Portland, Ore on Nov.23.

The tournament, which honors Nike co-founder Phil Knight for his 80th birthday, houses 16 teams in two eight-team brackets. Each team is guaranteed three games in the tournament. If the Gators beat Stanford, they’ll face the winner of Gonzaga/Ohio State. On Day 3, they’ll face one of Duke/Portland State/Butler/Texas. Florida’s non-conference schedule now includes Stanford and Baylor (Jan.27 in Gainesville).

Scouting Ahead

Stanford had a lackluster season finishing 14-17 and going 0-8 vs. opponents in the top 25. They did not qualify for the NCAA tournament. Florida last played Stanford in 2002 and is 0-4 all-time. Ohio State had a more respectable 17-15 record on the season but also didn’t qualify. As such, Gonzaga is seen as an easy favorite to beat the Buckeyes and potentially face the Florida in what would be a rematch from last November where Gonzaga beat Florida 77-72 in the Advocare Invitational. The Bulldogs made it to the NCAA championship game before losing to North Carolina.

Ready For 2017-18

Florida is coming off a strong season that ended in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament, with a loss to SEC foe South Carolina. The Orange and Blue finished 27-9 under second-year head coach and SEC Coach of the Year Mike White. Fans can expect a few new faces on the court for the upcoming 2017-18 season after six players left the team. Kasey Hill, Justin Leon, Canyon Barry and Schuyler Rimmer graduated while Devin Robinson, one of Florida’s hottest players in the tournament, forwent his senior season to enter the NBA draft. Guard Eric Hester transferred from the team

Arguably the team’s best player, first-team SEC guard KeVaughn Allen, returns. Florida’s projected starters are Chris Chiozza, KeVaughn Allen, Jalen Hudson, Keith Stone, and Kevarrius Hayes. Center John Egbunu announced his return to the team earlier in May but he’s sidelined until at least conference play with a torn ACL.

 

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