Soaring High: A Look at the Florida Gators Men's and Women's Basketball Teams
In the heart of Gainesville, Florida, a fervent passion for basketball courses through the veins of the University of Florida. The Florida Gators boast not just one, but two exceptional basketball teams — the men's and women's squads and both have made impressive strides in recent years.
With the 23-24 season underway, students and fans of the Florida Gators don orange and blue colors to cheer on the squads – both in person and from afar. And if you've ever been to a home basketball game, you'll know firsthand the passion fans have for both teams. It's not just a fun hobby – it's a way of life.
The Florida Gators men's basketball team, led by second-year Head Coach Todd Golden, has consistently been a force to be reckoned with in the highly competitive Southeastern Conference (SEC). Known for their tenacity, skill, and determination, the Gators have made a name for themselves on the national stage.
The team's recent seasons have showcased a blend of experienced veterans and promising young talents. The Gators roster only lists one player at the center position and it is sophomore transfer Micah Handlogten from Marshall. The 7-foot-1-inch center is the tallest member of the backcourt and will be heavily relied on to retrieve rebounds on both ends of the floor. The Marshall transfer started every game for his team and finished 2022 at No. 11 in the nation in blocked shots per game and No. 16 in rebounding. Freshman Alex Condon joins the Gators after traveling from Perth, Australia. Condon is a multi-sport athlete but decided he was destined for a career in basketball. The three-star recruit also trained with the Australian men's national team and was ranked as the No. 32 center in the recruiting 2023 class.
On the women's side, the Gators are making waves under the leadership of Head Coach Kelly Rae Finley. The women's basketball program has been on a journey of rejuvenation, with Coach Finley instilling a winning mentality – she took Florida to two postseason tournaments and has totaled 20 wins for the Gators.
The women's team boasts a roster of skilled and versatile players, each contributing to the team's success in their own unique way. From three-point sharpshooters to lockdown defenders, the Gators have assembled a squad that can compete with the best in the nation. And this season, the team just landed one of the nation's top recruits, Me'Arah O'Neal, who ranks 33rd on espnW's Top 100 and is the youngest child of retired NBA star Shaquille O'Neal. The team also added five-star point guard Alivia McGill. The 5'9 commit out of Minnesota is ranked in the top 20 recruits by ESPN's 2024 HoopGurlz, sitting at 16. McGill is a two-time Adidas All-American player and was selected for the 2023 USA Adidas Eurocamp this past summer playing in Treviso, Italy.
In the basketball-crazed state of Florida, it's clear the Gators men's and women's basketball teams are carving out their own legacies. So, grab a loved one or best friend and plan a trip to Gainesville to experience the magic courtside at the Exactech Arena at Stephen C. O'Connell Center.
2024 Men's Basketball Home Games Schedule
- December 5 vs Merrimack
- December 22 vs Grambling State
- December 30 vs Quinnipiac
- January 6 vs Kentucky
- January 13 vs Arkansas
- January 24 vs Mississippi State
- January 27 vs Georgia
- February 10 vs Auburn
- February 13 vs LSU
- February 24 vs Vanderbilt
- February 28 vs Missouri
- March 5 vs Alabama
2024 Women's Basketball Home Games Schedule
- December 30 (2023) vs Winthrop University
- January 4 vs University of South Carolina
- January 14 vs University of Georgia
- January 22 vs Mississippi State University
- January 28 vs Texas A&M University
- February 8 vs University of Arkansas
- February 15 vs University of Mississippi
- February 22 vs University of Missouri
- March 3 vs Auburn University
Hotel ELEO at the University of Florida is offering a Slam Dunk Deal perfect for basketball fans. Guests can enjoy a 20% discount on two-night stays (December 17-February 29) and a $30 credit per stay at Covey Kitchen + Cocktails, the hotel's award-winning restaurant. To score this special offer, which is available on direct bookings only, use the booking code: WIN. The offer is valid on two-night stays from December 17, 2023 until February 29, 2024 and is subject to availability and blackout dates. For more information or to book a stay, contact Hotel ELEO at 352-565-3536 or visit HotelELEO.com.