Best In West

Alabama was picked to win the Southeastern Conference Western Division and the Tide had two members of the pre-season first team All-SEC team in voting at SEC Basketball Media Days in Birmingham Thursday.

The Alabama men's basketball team of Coach Mark Gottfried got 25 votes to run away with the prediction for first place in the SEC Western Division. LSU was second with seven votes and Arkansas had three votes in being picked second and third. Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Auburn rounded out Western Division voting.

Kentucky was selected as the overwhelming favorite to win the SEC East with 33 votes with runner-up Florida and third place Vanderbilt getting one each. South Carolina was picked fourth, Tennessee fifth, and Georgia sixth.

The Wildcats were also the favorite to win the overall league championship. Kentucky got 28 votes, Alabama six and LSU one.

Bama placed two men on the pre-season All-SEC team with senior forward Chuck Davis tying Glen Davis of LSU with the most votes at 32. But Ronnie Brewer of Arkansas, who got 30 points, edged Glen Davis for Player of the Year. Brewer got 12 votes, Davis 11. Bama's Chuck Davis got six, Rajon Rondo of Kentucky five, and Mario Moore of Vanderbilt 1.

The two Davises, Brewer, Rondo and Alabama sophomore point guard Ron Steele made up the first team.

Jermareo Davidson, Alabama's junior center, was picked on the second team, along with Vanderbilt's Moore, Corey Brewer and Al Horford of Florida, and C.J. Watson of Tennessee.

In women's voting, new Alabama Coach Stephany Smith's Crimson Tide was picked to finish eighth. Tennessee was the runaway favorite with 10 first place votes. The women do not play by divisions. The order of predicted finish was 1. Tennessee, 2. LSU, 3. Georgia, 4. Vanderbilt, 5. Ole Miss, 6. Auburn, 7. Florida, 8. Alabama, 9. Kentucky, 10. Arkansas, 11. Mississippi State, and 12. South Carolina.

Seimone Augustus of LSU is the pre-season player of the year. No Alabama woman was selected for the first or second pre-season All-SEC team.

The balloting attracted 35 voters.


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