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Sunshine State Report

The latest on college sports in Florida

Basketball team picked third in SEC East



Florida's '04's are long gone, and so apparently are the outside expectations for the Florida basketball team.

With only one returning experienced player, not surprisingly the Gators didn't place a single player on the preseason All-SEC first or second teams.

Tennessee was picked to win its ninth SEC men's basketball championship by select SEC media members Tuesday. The Vols were also a unanimous selection to win the SEC East, followed by Kentucky, Florida, Vanderbilt, Georgia and South Carolina.

In the West, Arkansas was chosen to win, followed by Mississippi State, Alabama, Auburn, LSU and Ole

Tennesse is coming off a Sweet 16 appearance in the 2007 NCAA Tournament and a 24-win season. The Vols earned 28 first-place votes, topping Mississippi State which earned two votes as SEC Champion.
Tennessee returns eight letterwinners and four starters, including Wayne Chism, Chris Lofton, JaJuan Smith and Ramar Smith.

"Certainly I think we are going to be picked by a number of people to be competitive,'' Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl said. "Our first year we won the East and last year we tied for the second-best record in the SEC. I think our team is going to play for it. We're going to compete for it. We'd like to think that we can do that every year. Some years are more realistic than others and I would think this would be a year, based on our roster, where people should expect us to be able to compete for the SEC championship.''

Tennessee guard Chris Lofton was the preseason selection for SEC Player of the Year.

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 12:20pm]


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