• Florida guard Kasey Hill dribbles up the floor on a fast break against LSU in the O'Connell Center in Gainesville on January 9, 2016 (file photo).

With O'Dome being renovated, Gators to open in Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE — With Florida working on a $64.5 million renovation to the O'Connell Center, the Gators will open the 2016-17 season in nearby Jacksonville.

The school and the city announced Thursday the Gators will play Belmont on Nov. 11 and Mercer on Nov. 13. The opener will be a double-header with the Florida women's team, which will face South Alabama.

The Gators' non-conference schedule includes three games scheduled in the Advocare Classic in Orlando (Nov. 24-28) and will play Duke in the Jimmy V Classic in New York City (Dec. 6). They also play at North Florida (Dec. 1), at Florida State (Dec. 11) and against Charlotte (Dec. 17) in Sunrise.

Florida also has St. Bonaventure on the schedule in Lakeland (mid-November) and Arkansas Little-Rock slated as its home opener (Dec. 21).

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