The SEC men’s basketball preseason media rankings and All-SEC teams came out Tuesday with the media picking Tennessee to finish fourth in the SEC.
Tennessee was the fourth highest rated team in the preseason AP poll, coming in at No. 18. The Vols follow Kentucky, Alabama and Arkansas in the SEC media preseason rankings.
Behind Tennessee, the rankings go Auburn, LSU, Florida, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Missouri, South Carolina, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt and Georgia.
Tennessee had no players land on the preseason first or second team. Kentucky led the way with four players on the two six-player teams. Alabama was the only other team with multiple players on the two teams. The media picked Vanderbilt’s Scotty Pippen Jr. as the conference’s preseason player of the year.
The Vols’ return seven players from last year’s team including consistent contributors John Fulkerson, Josiah Jordan James, Santiago Vescovi and Victor Bailey Jr.
Heading into his seventh season, Rick Barnes flipped his roster bringing in eight new players with seven being prep prospects.
Tennessee finished fourth in the SEC last season behind Alabama, Arkansas and LSU. The media picked the Vols to win the SEC a season ago and jumped out to a hot start to the season before simmering down the stretch.
The Vols seemed to spark a run late in the season, closing the regular season strong and playing well in the SEC Tournament before losing a tight game to Alabama in the semifinals. Tennessee’s season ended with a dud, however, as 12th-seeded Oregon State upset them in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Tennessee is looking to bounce back this season with a grueling schedule and the new look team.