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Oct. 19, 2009

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The South Carolina men’s basketball team was picked to finish fourth in the East, while senior point guard Devan Downey was selected to the Preseason All-SEC First Team, according to the SEC Men’s Basketball Preseason Media Poll and Awards that were announced today. Kentucky was projected as the 2010 SEC Champion.

The Wildcats earned 20 first-place votes, topping Mississippi State, which earned three votes, and Tennessee, which had two votes as SEC Champion.

Kentucky was the media’s favorite to win the East with 148 total points (23 first-place votes), ahead of second-place Tennessee’s 117 points (two first-place votes). Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Florida and Georgia rounded out the top six.

In the West, Mississippi State’s 144 total points (22 first-place votes) were ahead of Ole Miss’ 120 points (two first-place votes). Alabama was picked third with 84 points. LSU, Arkansas and Auburn rounded out the top six in the West.

Kentucky junior Patrick Patterson was the choice of the media for SEC Men’s Basketball Player of the Year with 11 votes. Kentucky freshman John Wall (six votes), Mississippi State senior Jarvis Varnado (three votes), Downey (three votes) and Tennessee senior Tyler Smith (two votes) also received votes in the Player of the Year voting. Downey ranks as the SEC’s leading returning scorer from a year ago.

Patterson, Downey, Varnado and Smith were joined on the All-SEC First Team by Ole Miss sophomore Terrico White. Wall led All-SEC Second Team honors and was joined by LSU’s Tasmin Mitchell, Vanderbilt’s A.J. Ogilvy, Ole Miss’ Chris Warren and Auburn’s DeWayne Reed.

Points were compiled on a 6-5-4-3-2-1 basis for each division. Each media member also voted for one team as an overall conference champion and a five-player All-SEC Team.

Voting is done by a select panel of both SEC and national media members. Each SEC school selected media members that cover its team and additional writers from across the nation were selected by the conference office to form the 25-member voting panel.

The 2009-10 SEC Media Preseason Poll tips off SEC Basketball Media Day, October 22 at the Birmingham Marriott in Alabama. The 2009-10 season begins November 13, with conference play set to begin January 9. The 2010 SEC Tournament will be held March 11-14 at the Sommet Center in Nashville, Tenn.