BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Defending national champion Kentucky is the pre-season favorite to win the Southeastern Conference basketball title, and Wildcats freshman Nerlens Noel was named to the All-SEC first team.
The Wildcats received 17 of the 24 first-place votes in balloting by a panel of media members despite losing six NBA Draft picks, including national player of the year and No. 1 selection Anthony Davis. Kentucky went 38-2 last season and won all 16 SEC games, and Coach John Calipari brought in a highly rated recruiting class.
Florida was first on five ballots while Missouri and Tennessee got one first-place vote apiece.
Last week Kentucky was ranked third nationally in the pre-season ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll while Florida was 10th and Missouri was 17th.
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Tennessee and Georgia were among the teams receiving votes. Missouri point guard Phil Pressey is pre-season player of the year. His six votes outpaced Florida's Kenny Boynton (five). Kentucky's Nerlens Noel, Arkansas' BJ Young and Tennessee's Jarnell Stokes each got three votes.
Those five are first-team pre-season All-SEC picks.
Kentucky freshman Alex Poythress was named to the All-SEC second team.