Florida forward Colin Castleton (12) works away from Alabama forward Nick Pringle (23) as forward Brandon Miller (24) moves in to help during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)

Gators face Arkansas despite Castleton injury

The Florida Gators men’s basketball team heads to Arkansas Saturday for an SEC matchup with the Razorbacks. Florida will look to build off of their previous win when they defeated Ole Miss Wednesday night, 79-64. Despite getting the win, Florida’s starting big man Colin Castleton suffered a broken hand that will likely sideline him for the rest of the season.

Life Without Castleton

Losing Castleton is going to be a crucial blow for the Gators. He led Florida in points, rebounds and blocks. Also as a fifth-year senior, Castleton was a major leader on the team both on and off the court.

The injury to Castleton opens the door for a significant increase in playing time for backup center Jason Jitoboh. Up to this point, the 300 pounder from Nigeria is averaging less than ten minutes a game.

In addition to more minutes for Jitoboh, head coach Todd Golden is also going to have to rely heavier on guards Myreon Jones and Kyle Lofton. It’s all hands on deck moving forward for this Gators team.

What’s at Stake

Florida enters the game tied for seventh in the SEC at 14-12 overall and 7-6 in SEC play. The Gators have an identical record as the Vanderbilt Commodores, but Vanderbilt got the best of Florida in their matchup on Feb. 11.

Arkansas enters at an overall 17-9. However, they are one game behind the Gators in SEC play at 6-7. Arkansas looks to bounce back against Florida Saturday after dropping their past two SEC games.

Looking Ahead for the Gators

Following their game against Arkansas, the Gators will have four additional SEC games to end their regular season. Florida will host Kentucky Wednesday before hitting the road to face Vanderbilt and Georgia. Finally, the Gators end their regular season at home when they host the LSU Tigers on March 4.

The Gators and Razorbacks tip-off at 2 p.m Saturday from Bud Walton Arena in Arkansas.

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