Tyler Smith was named to the preseason All-Southeastern Conference first team, and the University of Tennessee was one of three schools named as a potential conference champion in poll of regional and national media , the conference office announced Monday.
The University of Kentucky, with first-year coach John Calipari, was the overwhelming choice to win the conference championship. It received 20 of the 25 votes cast. Mississippi State was named on three ballots and the other two votes went to UT.
The Wildcats also were the pick of 23 of the 25 voters to win the Eastern Division. Tennessee was predicted to finish second and Vanderbilt was picked third. Mississippi State was picked to win the Western Division over Ole Miss, Alabama and LSU, respectively.
Smith, a 6-foot-7, forward was one of three seniors named to the preseason All-SEC team. The other two were guard Devan Downey of South Carolina and Jarvis Varnado of Ole Miss.
Kentucky’s Patrick Patterson was named preseason Player of the Year.
Vanderbilt center A.J. Ogilvy was named to the second team.