published Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

Media pick Kentucky

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Kentucky is a heavy favorite to win the Southeastern Conference men's basketball title.

The Wildcats received 18 of 23 first-place votes from SEC and national media in balloting released by the league Monday. Kentucky sophomore Terrence Jones is the preseason league player of the year.

Vanderbilt received four first-place votes and Florida got one in finishing second and third in the voting with 265 and 235 total points, compared to Kentucky's 282.

Alabama was fourth, followed by Mississippi State and Arkansas. Mississippi, Georgia, LSU, Auburn, Tennessee and South Carolina comprised the lower half of the selection.

John Calipari's Wildcats are coming off a 29-9 season when they advanced to the Final Four.

Jones, who averaged 15.7 points a game as a freshman -- second for UK behind Brandon Knight -- got 12 votes in the preseason top-player balloting. Vanderbilt's John Jenkins picked up nine votes and Alabama senior JaMychal Green and Kentucky freshman Anthony Davis each received one vote.

Jones is the second Wildcat to be the preseason player of the year since Callipari became the coach. Patrick Patterson had that distinction leading into the 2009-10 season.

Jones, Jenkins and Green were joined on the 2011-12 preseason All-SEC first team by Mississippi State's Dee Bost and Vanderbilt's Jeffery Taylor. Kentucky's Davis and teammates Doron Lamb and Darius Miller made the second team along with Florida's Kenny Boynton and Erving Walker and Vanderbilt's Festus Ezeli.

Jenkins and Taylor averaged 19.5 and 14.7 points a game for Vanderbilt last season, and Ezeli averaged 13 points and 6.3 rebounds. Lamb and Miller averaged 12.3 and 10.9 points for UK's Wildcats.

Green averaged 15.5 points and 7.5 rebounds a game for Alabama, and Bost averaged 15.3 points and totaled a league-high 103 assists.

Florida's Walker, a two-time second-team All-SEC postseason choice, led the Gators with 539 points and 41 steals last year, and fellow second-teamer Boynton averaged 14.6 points and 2.6 assists.

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