Something For Vols To Cheer About
Tennessee was predicted to win its ninth Southeastern Conference men's basketball championship in a voting of a select panel of both SEC and national media members. Each SEC school selected two media members that cover their team and six additional writers from across the nation were selected by the conference office to form the 30-member voting panel.
The Volunteers are coming off a Sweet 16 appearance in the 2007 NCAA Tournament and a 24-win season. They earned 28 first-place votes, topping Mississippi State which earned two votes as SEC Champion.
The Alabama team of Coach Mark Gottfried received one vote to win the SEC Western Division, but overall the Tide was picked to finish third in the SEC West. Bama junior forward Richard Hendrix was selected to the pre-season All-SEC team.
Tennessee returns eight letter-winners and four starters, including Wayne Chism, Chris Lofton, JaJuan Smith and Ramar Smith.
Tennessee was a unanimous selection to win the East with 180 total points (30 first-place votes), ahead of second-place Kentucky's 142 points.
Kentucky returns nine letter-winners and three starters from last year's 22-win team for new coach Billy Gillispie.
Defending national champion Florida, Vanderbilt, Georgia and South Carolina round out the top six.
In the West, Arkansas was first with 168 total points (18 first-place votes) compared to Mississippi State's 148 points (10 first-place votes).
Alabama, predicted to finish third in the division with 111 points, and Auburn, picked fourth with 94, each received a first-place vote.
Arkansas returns all five starters from last year's squad for new coach John Pelphrey. The Razorbacks were the runner-up in the 2007 SEC Tournament and earned an NCAA Tournament berth. Mississippi State returns seven letter-winners and two starters from 2007.
LSU and Ole Miss round out the top six in the West.
Tennessee senior guard Chris Lofton was the overwhelming choice of the media for SEC Men's Basketball Player of the Year with 27 votes, followed by two votes for Mississippi State junior guard/forward Jamont Gordon. Tennessee sophomore forward Tyler Smith also garnered one vote.
Joining Lofton and Gordon on the All-SEC First Team were Alabama junior forward Richard Hendrix, Arkansas sophomore guard Patrick Beverley and Vanderbilt senior guard/forward Shan Foster.
Arkansas senior center Steven Hill, LSU junior forward Tasmin Mitchell, Ole Miss senior center Dwayne Curtis, Mississippi State senior forward/center Charles Rhodes and Tennessee sophomore forward Tyler Smith.
Auburn senior forward Quan Prowell and Georgia senior guard Sundiata Gaines also received votes.
Points were compiled on a 6-5-4-3-2-1 basis for each division. Each media member also voted for one team as an overall conference champion and a five-player All-SEC Team.
The 2007-08 SEC Media Preseason Poll tips off SEC Basketball Media Days, Wednesday and Thursday, at the Birmingham Marriott. The 2007-08 season begins November 6, with conference play set to begin January 8. The 2008 SEC Tournament will be held March 13-16 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
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