Coming off back-to-back last-place finishes in the Southeastern Conference, a media panel predicted Missouri men’s basketball would bring up the rear of the league again in 2016-17.
The Tigers, 3-15 in SEC play during each of coach Kim Anderson’s first two seasons, were picked 14th in a poll of a SEC and national media members announced Wednesday.
“That’s where I would have picked us,” third-year coach Kim Anderson said Wednesday on “SEC Now” from SEC men’s basketball media days in Nashville.
Given recent history, Anderson wasn’t surprised and even had a sense of humor about it.
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“We finished last (the past two seasons) and that’s fine,” Anderson said. “You have a better chance to win coach of the year if you get picked 14th.”
In fact, Anderson hopes the Tigers use it as motivation.
“Hopefully, they’ll respond to that in a positive manner,” Anderson said. “We’ll certainly use that. I’ve tried to stay away from using last year’s team or the year before as a barometer or a threat or whatever, but, certainly yeah, they’re going to see that … and, for them, I hope they’ll respond to that challenge.”
Two-time reigning champion Kentucky — which boasts an SEC-record 47 conference titles, more than four times second-place LSU’s 11 titles — was picked first.
Texas A&M, a 2016 conference co-champion with the Wildcats, was picked third behind Florida.
Georgia was picked fourth and Arkansas, which has the preseason SEC player of the year in senior forward Moses Kingsley, was picked fifth.
Kentucky had two freshmen, forward Eddie “Bam” Adebayo and guard De’Aaron Fox, join Kingsley on the preseason All-SEC first-team along with Georgia senior guard J.J. Frazier and Texas A&M sophomore center Tyler Davis.
Two more Wildcats guards, sophomore Isaiah Briscoe and freshman Malik Monk, were among seven players selected for the second team.
Georgia, which also had junior forward Yante Maten selected for the second team, was the only program to have multiple preseason All-SEC selections.
PRESEASON ALL-SEC MEN’S BASKETBALL
Predicted order of finish
1. Kentucky, 2. Florida, 3. Texas A&M, 4. Georgia, 5. Arkansas, 6. Vanderbilt, 7. Alabama, 8. South Carolina, 9. Mississippi, 10. Mississippi State, 11. Auburn, 12. LSU, 13. Tennessee, 14. Missouri.
F Moses Kingsley, Arkansas, senior, 6-10; G J.J. Frazier, Georgia, senior, 5-10; F Bam Adebayo, Kentucky, freshman, 6-10; G De’Aaron Fox, Kentucky, freshman, 6-3; C Tyler Davis, Texas A&M, sophomore, 6-10.
G KeVaughn Allen, Florida, sophomore, 6-2; F Yante Maten, Georgia, junior, 6-8; G Isaiah Briscoe, Kentucky, sophomore, 6-3; G Malik Monk, Kentucky, freshman, 6-3; G Antonio Blakeney, LSU, sophomore, 6-4; G Quinndary Weatherspoon, sophomore, 6-4; F Luke Kornet, Vanderbilt, senior, 7-1.