Media Pick Ole Miss Hoops To Finish Third In Tight SEC West

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. With the 2008-09 basketball season on the horizon and Southeastern Conference Media Days going on this week in Birmingham, a select panel of SEC and national media released the results of its preseason poll on Monday.

 

Ole Miss was picked third behind Alabama and LSU in a close battle for the SEC West title, while Rebel sophomore point guard Chris Warren was tabbed second-team All-SEC.

 

Preseason prognosticators throughout the country are beginning to recognize the Rebels for their success over the last two years.

 

Ole Miss has been predicted to finish anywhere from first to third in its division by most major publications this preseason, including a first-place prediction by the Blue Ribbon Yearbook, which also tabbed the Ole Miss backcourt as the best in the conference. The Rebels have been ranked as high as No. 24 in the nation in an early preseason ranking by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

 

The SEC media predicted Ole Miss to finish last in the SEC West each of the last two seasons, but instead Andy Kennedy guided the Rebel program to a share of the 2007 division title in his first season and to a third-place finish and NIT Final Four berth a year ago.

 

After helping the Rebels to a 24-11 record by leading the team with 15.8 points and 4.5 assists per game and shattering the school records for most three-pointers in a season (103) and most points by a freshman (554), Warren was named to the preseason second team All-SEC by the media. He was a unanimous choice to the coaches’ SEC All-Freshman squad a year ago.

 

Tennessee was predicted to defend its 2008 SEC championship and finish atop the eastern division. The Volunteers are coming off an appearance in the Sweet 16 of the 2008 NCAA Tournament and a school-record 31 wins. They earned 23 first-place votes, topping Florida’s five votes and Kentucky’s two as the SEC Champion. UT was the media’s favorite to win the East with 172 total points (23 first-place votes), ahead of second-place Florida’s 143 points (five first-place votes). Kentucky, Vanderbilt, South Carolina and Georgia round out the top six.

 

In the West, Alabama’s 151 total points (11 first-place votes) were slightly ahead of LSU’s 147 points (11 first-place votes). Ole Miss received eight first place votes and was picked third with 136 points. Alabama returns a total of nine letterwinners from last year’s squad. LSU returns 10 lettermen and a total of five starters for new head coach Trent Johnson while Ole Miss brings back eight lettermen and three starters from last year’s team. Mississippi State, Auburn and Arkansas round out the top six in the West.

 

Tennessee junior forward Tyler Smith was the choice of the media for SEC Men’s Basketball Player of the Year with 17 votes, followed by nine votes for Kentucky sophomore Patrick Patterson. South Carolina junior guard Devan Downey received two votes while LSU senior guard Marcus Thornton and Florida sophomore guard/forward Nick Calathes each garnered one vote.

 

Smith, Patterson, Downey and Calathes were joined on the All-SEC First Team by Vanderbilt sophomore center A.J. Ogilvy.

 

LSU’s Thornton led All-SEC Second Team honors and was joined by Warren, Mississippi State junior forward/center Jarvis Varnado, Alabama senior guard Ronald Steele, LSU junior forward Tasmin Mitchell and Alabama senior guard Alonzo Gee.

 

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.

 

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 2008-09 SEC Media Preseason Poll tips off SEC Basketball Media Days, Oct. 22-23 at the Birmingham Marriott in Alabama. Coach Kennedy and Ole Miss players Eniel Polynice and Warren will represent the Rebels on Thursday morning.

 

Ole Miss will host the University of North Alabama in a preseason exhibition game on Oct. 31 at 4 p.m. at Tad Smith Coliseum. Fans are encouraged to donate canned goods for the SAAC Canned Food Drive in lieu of admission fees. The Rebels kick off the regular season with a 7 p.m. home contest against Arkansas State on Nov. 14.

 

Preseason Media Poll
(First-Place Votes in Parentheses; *-unanimous selection)

SEC Champion: Tennessee (23); Florida (5); Kentucky (2)


2007-08 Results
Team Poll SEC Overall
Eastern Division
Tennessee (23) 172 14-2 31-5
Florida (5) 143 8-8 24-12
Kentucky (2) 130 12-4 18-13
Vanderbilt 88 10-6 26-8
South Carolina 56 5-11 14-18
Georgia 41 4-12 17-17
Western Division
Alabama (11) 151 5-11 17-16
LSU (11) 147 6-10 13-18
Ole Miss (8) 136 7-9 24-11
Miss. State 91 12-4 23-11
Auburn 54 4-12 14-16
Arkansas 51 9-7 23-12


Player, School Pos. Ht. Wt. Cl. Hometown
FIRST TEAM ALL-SEC
Patrick Patterson, Kentucky -- 6-9 235 So. Huntington, W.Va.
Tyler Smith, Tennessee F 6-7 215 Jr. Pulaski, Tenn.
Nick Calathes, Florida G/F 6-6 194 So. Casselberry, Fla.
Devan Downey, South Carolina G 5-9 175 Jr. Chester, S.C.
A.J. Ogilvy, Vanderbilt C 6-11 250 So. Sydney, Australia
SECOND TEAM ALL-SEC
Marcus Thornton, LSU G 6-4 205 Sr. Baton Rouge, La.
Jarvis Varnado, Miss. State F/C 6-9 210 Jr. Brownsville, Tenn.
Ronald Steele, Alabama G 6-1 191 Sr. Birmingham, Ala.
Tasmin Mitchell, LSU F 6-7 240 Jr. Denham Springs, La.
Chris Warren, Ole Miss G 5-10 160 So. Orlando, Fla.
Alonzo Gee, Alabama G 6-6 219 Sr. Palm Beach, Fla.


 

 

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