Tide favorite at basketball Media Days

BIRMINGHAM - The University of Alabama is the favorite to repeat as Southeastern Conference Champions in 2003, according to a vote by media gathered in Birmingham at the Southeastern Conference Basketball Media Day.

p>Of the 35 voter ballots, 20 voted for the Tide to win it all. Alabama was also the overwhelming favorite to win the SEC Western Division.

In the overall league title voting, Alabama was first (20), followed by Florida and Georgia with four votes apiece, Kentucky (3), Mississippi State (2) and Auburn and Ole Miss with one vote apiece.

Predicted order of finish by division:

Eastern Division 

1. Florida
2. Georgia
3. Kentucky
4. South Carolina
5. Tennessee
6. Vanderbilt

Western Division

1. Alabama
2. Mississippi State
3. LSU
4. Ole Miss
5. Arkansas
6. Auburn

Alabama's senior power forward Erwin Dudley, the 2002 SEC Player of the Year, was voted the preseason favorite to repeat as the league's best player. Georgia's Jarvis Hayes was second, followed by Mississippi State's Mario Austin and Kentucky's Keith Bogans.

The media's preseason All-SEC team included two Tide first team players, Dudley and sophomore point guard Mo Williams, as well as Austin, Hayes and Florida's Brett Nelson.

2002-03 All-SEC Pre-Season First Team

Pos.  Name (School)    Ht. Wt. Class Hometown       PPG  RPG
F/C Erwin Dudley, Ala. 6-8 260  Sr.  Uniontown, AL  15.2 8.9
 F  Mario Austin, MSU  6-9 260  Jr.  York, AL       16.1 5.7
 F  Jarvis Hayes, Ga.  6-7 220  Jr.  Atlanta, GA    18.6 8.0
 G  Mo Williams, Ala.  6-1 195  So.  Jackson, MS    10.4 4.5 apg
 G  Brett Nelson, Fla. 6-4 205  Sr.  St. Albans, WV 14.6 3.3 apg

Basketball fans will get a chance to see Alabama's team in action this Friday night, November 1 when the Tide hosts the EA Sports All-Stars in an exhibition game at 7 p.m. CT in Coleman Coliseum.

Tickets, available at the door are only $5 for the exhibition game.

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