Gators still among Last Four In after Mississippi State win in Joe Lunardi’s bracketology

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Florida’s win over Mississippi State on Wednesday night wasn’t exactly season-defining, but it was a huge victory nonetheless. The Bulldogs were one of the hotter teams in the SEC coming off an upset win over Alabama, and the Gators were without their best player in center Colin Castleton, who is dealing with a shoulder injury.

He’s now out indefinitely, and if it’s a long-term injury, that won’t bode well for Florida’s NCAA Tournament chances. Still, the win over MSU likely kept it in the projected field. UF entered that matchup as Joe Lunardi’s last team in, and a loss likely would have dropped it from his bracket.

In the latest update to Lunardi’s bracketology, the Gators are no longer the final team in the field but remain among the Last Four In, joined by Oregon, Florida State (who they beat) and TCU. Lunardi has Florida taking on the Ducks in a play-in game for the No. 11 seed in the South Region, with the winner earning the right to take on No. 6-seeded Providence.

The likely second-round opponent would be three-seeded Houston, and the top seed in the region is Baylor, who UF wouldn’t face until the Elite Eight.

As far as the rest of the league goes, Auburn remains the No. 1 overall seed in Lunardi’s bracket projection and stands atop the Midwest Region. Kentucky and LSU remain on the three and four-seed lines, respectively, while Alabama is up to a No. 5 seed, as is Tennessee.

Though only six SEC teams are currently projected in the field, that could change quickly, as the first three teams out are Texas A&M (coming off a loss to Kentucky), Arkansas and Mississippi State, who fell out of the field after Wednesday night’s loss. It wouldn’t take a lot for any of those teams to crack the field, and it seems likely to be an SEC-heavy bubble this year.

Florida currently sits at No. 39 in the NET rankings after the win with manageable upcoming games at home against Vanderbilt and on the road in a make-up game against Ole Miss. After that, the team heads to Knoxville for what will be a very tough test against the Volunteers.

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