Florida basketball falls to First Four Out in ESPN bracketology

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After spending several weeks fighting to get out of ESPN’s Last Four In, the Florida Gators have fallen to the First Four Out in Joe Lunardi’s latest bracketology update.

Florida lost to Tennessee on Wednesday in its fourth game without Colin Castleton. The Gators led by 10 early, but things fell apart after the team lost backup center Jason Jitoboh. CJ Felder, the next biggest guy on the team, came in for a few late minutes despite being unhealthy.

While the Gators were certainly on the very edge of the bubble, it might be the uncertainty in the frontcourt that pushed them out of the projected field. Lunardi has the Gators as the first team out, followed by Mississippi State, Wyoming and Michigan. The current Last Four In are West Virginia, San Diego State, North Carolina and Oregon.

There’s still a lot of basketball to be played, but Florida is trending in the wrong direction. A serious run in the SEC Tournament appears unlikely with six teams still projected to make the NCAA Tournament, and the Ole Miss loss proved that Florida can’t take any matchup for granted without Castelton.

A Quadrant 1 win over Oklahoma State on the road is a shot for Florida to claw its way back into consideration, but the Gators will be without Castleton and Jitoboh on Saturday.

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